Durham-based Prima cheese, which specialises in making cheese for pizzas, had reached maximum capacity, it said. The business can now expand to accommodate a new production line, after the £3M investment.
Prima Cheese finance director Andy Davis said: “We’ve been at our current site since 2001 and had reached full capacity, so we have acquired some adjacent units to grow into, which will see us grow from 3,065m2 to 5,110m2 by the end of 2017.
“We’re upgrading our three production lines with state-of-the-art new machinery, as well as adding a fourth production line, which together will boost capacity by 50%.”
Won the backing of Lloyds Bank
The cheese firm won the investment after it continued to grow, despite challenging market conditions, the bank said.
Prima increased its exports by 88% last year, and was expected to increase its turnover by 30% in the 12 months to March 2017, compared with the same period last year.
“Our growth has been driven by entering new export markets, launching new products and winning market share in our current markets,” Davis said.
“We’ve also invested heavily in research and development to improve efficiency in our production process, as well as investing in things like energy efficient lighting.”
Prima – which sells to 17 countries – made 20% of its total revenue through export sales.
Workforce had doubled
The company’s workforce had doubled over the past three years, and was expected to reach 100 for the first time this year, the bank said.
Lloyds Bank north east relationship director Alison Smith said: “Prima Cheese has continued to grow, even through a period of political and economic upheaval. It’s great to see it winning contracts in emerging markets overseas.
“We look forward to continuing our support as the business targets further domestic and international growth. Backing mid-sized businesses like Prima, which are an essential part of their local economies, is all part of our plan to help Britain prosper.”
Prima Cheese £3M investment – at a glance
- Investment from Lloyds Bank
- Cheese firm can now accommodate fourth production line
- Increased capacity by 50%