David Nicolson (right), director of Thulecraft, alongside Michael Thomson, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland.
A Shetland business that last year produced 1.8m boxes for the aquaculture industry is expanding and upgrading its factory, following a £300,000 funding package from Bank of Scotland.
Thulecraft, based in Lerwick, manufactures 10,000 boxes a day for the salmon industry - Scotland’s top food export, valued at £600m.
To cope with increasing demand from the industry, the business plans to expand its factory to allow for more space to manufacture and store the thousands of boxes required by local aquaculture industries.
The business is owned by a charitable trust, The Sandison Trust, and employs 14 local members of staff in its factory. Thulecraft Ltd pays an annual donation to the trust, and its remaining profits are invested in its business.
Thulecraft has been supported by a £300,000 term loan and an asset finance facility of £180,000 from Bank of Scotland, which will allow the firm to increase the efficiency of production by installing an additional moulding machine. The funding will also greatly increase the amount of storage available.
David Nicolson, director of Thulecraft, said: “The continued demand from the aquaculture industry in the Northern Isles drives our business forward.
“We were incorporated in 1974 and made our first box in 1986 in a small factory on Browns Road. In 1987, 90,000 boxes were sold. Although we moved to larger premises in the 1990s, ongoing growth in the local aquaculture industry has meant we’ve had to keep investing in our business to ensure we meet demand and guarantee the quality our customers expect.
“Thanks to the funding and support from Bank of Scotland, we will be able to increase our productivity and continue upgrading our facilities. We want to become as efficient as possible and provide a consistently high-quality product to our customers.”
Michael Thomson, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “Developing relationships with local businesses across Scotland, especially in remote areas such as Shetland, is extremely important to us.
“The aquaculture industry supports approximately 21,000 jobs across the North and West of Scotland. It’s great to help businesses like Thulecraft reach its full growth potential in what is a very important and increasingly competitive sector.
“Our team of relationship managers are dedicated to helping businesses achieve success and in this case become more sustainable and secure. We are committed to helping Scotland prosper and look forward to seeing Thulecraft thrive as the aquaculture industry continues to grow.”
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