Supplier tastes the sweet life with half a million investment

Sephra-001 Apr crop
Sephra’s sweet equipment will now have the chance to be exported further afield.

Food equipment supplier Sephra Europe has accessed a £500,000 five-year unsecured loan through SME credit specialist Caple.

Sephra has used the loan to purchase the intellectual property of its branded products, previously held by a US company, and expand into new markets. This gives the company full control of these items. By removing the need to pay royalties, Sephra now also retains all profits from each sale.

The firm will also use the loan to drive product innovation and expand internationally. For instance, the business created a self-service popcorn maker for supermarket Asda. It now sells more than 1m tubs of popcorn a year in the UK. Sephra aims to replicate this success with further retailers worldwide.

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As a result of the loan, the supplier expects to hire a further 10 people and more than double its turnover to £10m over the next 3-4 years.

David Archer, MD of Sephra, said: “We wanted to move quickly, secure the IP rights to our products and to press ahead with our growth plans. The Caple team understood our business and responded by completing the deal in record time.

“We are now able to drive innovation and expand into 20 to 30 new markets across Asia, Australasia, Central and South America, providing huge growth potential. By removing the need to pay royalties, we’re already seeing a positive impact on the bottom line.”

Dominic Buch, co-founder and managing partner of Caple, said: “Successful SMEs such as Sephra need funding to reach their full potential. The flexible nature of the loans we offer access to helps businesses like Sephra achieve their goals without the need for personal guarantees.

“By working alongside Sephra’s bank, RBS, we have supported a blend of financing that delivers stable and long-term funding that enables it to implement its ambitious growth plan.”

Karl Hodson, director, Corporate Solutions, BTG Advisory, who advised Sephra, said: “We were impressed with the Sephra’s management and product sustainability. The loan through Caple fits perfectly with the profile of the business. With the deal agreed, Sephra has now secured the full rights to the products it sells and has the ideal platform to grow exports.”

Based in Kirkcaldy, on the east coast of Scotland, Sephra supplies food equipment, selling to restaurants, cafes and hotels groups as well as local catering distributors. The company exports to 67 countries globally.

Sephra has grown by innovating and expanding its product range. Starting with chocolate fountain machines, the business now distributes waffle, pancake, donut and popcorn makers. The business also sells Sephra ingredients including chocolate, add water only waffle mix and crepe mix. Last year, the business sold over 300tonnes of chocolate.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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