A Highlands and Islands business counting some of the world’s top chefs and restaurants among its patrons is to receive a £4 million boost to help it expand into international markets.
Loch Duart Limited, producer of the salmon served at the 2011 Royal Wedding and this year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, hopes that the funding, which comes from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), together with new Scottish Venture Fund (SVF) partner Capricorn Investment Group, will allow it to take advantage of new international opportunities.
“We’re in a fortunate position,” said Loch Duart Commercial Director Alan Balfour. “Demand for our product is growing all the time. We need to expand our operations to keep up with that demand and to continue competing on an international level. This funding from the Scottish Investment Bank means we can make the changes we need to make while safeguarding jobs and, as we expand, creating new ones.”
HIE account manager Keith Muir has been working with Loch Duart Limited for a number of years, and welcomed the funding round.
"Loch Duart is an award-winning business which Scotland can be proud of. It is a company with a clear vision; to produce the best-tasting products using the highest welfare and environmental standards.” he said. “It’s a crucial employer in an economically fragile area and HIE is delighted to have worked with the dedicated, well managed team as it has developed its ambitious plans.”
The company is a leading light for sustainability within the sector. Having been founded as a sustainable operation, Loch Duart approached the RSPCA to develop welfare standards for farmed salmon, and thanks to this work, it became the first salmon farm in the world to be approved under the Freedom Food scheme.
As a result, Loch Duart has a very strong international reputation thanks to its proactive approach to improving and leading the standards of the salmon farming industry.
The company has become one of the big success stories of the Scottish food and drink industry, with clients including some of the world’s finest establishments such as the French Laundry in California and the Goring hotel in London.
With international demand for Scottish salmon at an all time high, the company is keen to ensure that it can continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented by export markets.
Just last week, the company participated in a trade mission to China and Japan, a joint initiative between Scottish Development International and Scotland Food and Drink, to explore the opportunities presented by the fast-growing Asian market.
With funding, the company should be well placed to achieve its international growth objectives and continue to operate successfully over three continents.
“Loch Duart is exactly the type of company we want to support,” said Kerry Sharp, acting head of SIB. “It has achieved a great deal over the past 13 years, it has an excellent reputation and it has very real growth potential.
“With the right help at the right time, this is a company that could go from being a highly successful Scottish concern to being a major player in the international fish production market. We are that help, and we’re proud to be working with this organisation at this time.”
Alan Balfour is now looking forward to an exciting future for the company. “We’ve worked hard to make this company what it is today,” he said. “We’ve been largely self-funded and we’ve grown into an important organisation in a Scottish market. “We needed help to make the next step, and thanks to SIB and Capricorn we’re now in a position to take it. We’re very much looking forward to continuing to push ourselves over the next few years, and to seeing our company continue to develop and grow into an international force.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “As I saw for myself when I headed up the food and drink trade mission last week to Japan and China, Scottish salmon is highly sought after globally and is widely regarded for its high quality and delicious taste.
“We established the Scottish Investment Bank to help provide businesses with the financial support they need to fulfil their potential. Therefore I’m pleased that with SIB backing this company can ramp up their export activities and grow sustainably.”