UK Export Finance and Virgin Money support £750k boost for Scottish shortbread exports

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has worked with Virgin Money to provide a £750,000 financing package to Dean’s of Huntly, one of Scotland’s leading manufacturers of premium shortbread. This family-owned branded and own-label shortbread business exports to Germany, the USA, Australia, and China. Because of seasonal demand for its products, Dean’s needed additional working capital to increase production ahead of key events, including Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Chinese New Year.

UKEF provided a guarantee through its General Export Facility product to unlock the finance offered by Virgin Money. Launched in 2020, the GEF has supported UK exporters in securing more than £325 million in new working capital loans. The facility can fast-track financing applications worth up to £10 million.

The GEF funding agreed with Dean’s in 2023 has already enabled the firm to successfully carry out its Christmas shipments, produce special edition Year of the Dragon tins, and launch a new range of shortbread hearts for Valentine’s Day and Mothering Sunday. The new financing will also help the company invest in new equipment and enable it to create up to 20 new jobs.

Bill Dean, CEO, Dean’s of Huntly, said: “The GEF facility has helped us manage the working capital implications of large export orders. It takes 3-4 months to receive payment from the time the shortbread is made and shipped. The GEF’s functionality allows us to draw down funds as needed and repay them when not required. This flexibility has enabled us to pursue more customers in the US and expand in the Far East and Europe. Additionally, it allows us to fund overseas sales, hire new employees, and invest in equipment to improve processes and reduce our environmental impact.”

Tim Reid, CEO of UK Export Finance, said: “Dean’s offers a distinctly Scottish product that is loved worldwide. Our support is helping them continue their export success. The majority of UKEF’s deals support smaller businesses like Dean’s, ensuring that entrepreneurs across the country can benefit from international trade.”

Craig Wilson, Head of FX Sales & Trade Finance at Virgin Money, added: “Dean’s of Huntly has been a valued Virgin Money customer for many number of years. Their success and export growth is truly inspiring. We are proud of our strong relationship and have developed an innovative and tailored international solution to help Dean’s continue their successful trajectory. Virgin Money’s team of international experts is available to support businesses across various sectors with the right products to help them achieve their international goals.”

UKEF has also supported other Scottish food and drink companies, including organic distillery Nc’nean and seafood exporter Denholm Seafoods.