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Cold storage firm to create jobs in Merthyr

L-R: Mark Mountford Propel, Jayne Bowen-Davies Celtic Cold Storage, Mike Fenwick Verde Corporate Finance, Andy Phillips and Marion Jellings Celtic Cold Storage and Martin Palmer UKSE. Picture by Nick Treharne

A newly-launched cold storage business backed by a £250,000 investment package is aiming to create jobs in the Valleys as the area fights back against the effects of Covid 19.

Celtic Cold Storage Ltd, a new venture in Merthyr Tydfil, offers a complete packing, cold-storage and transport service  to leading supermarkets, as well as to smaller food suppliers.

The business has been launched by a team of three  – Andy Phillips, Jayne Bowen-Davies and Marion Jellings – who together have 60 years’ complementary experience in the industry.

Ten people are presently employed at the newly-created facility, and in three years the aim is to double to a workforce of at least 20, said Director Jayne Bowen-Davies. “The Valleys, like many other areas, is suffering badly because of the effects of Covid,” she said.

“We will be very pleased if we can put jobs back into the Valleys and do what we can to help the local economy bounce back from this terrible situation.”

Clients include Morrisons, M&S and Castle Dairies. “As well as the bigger food retailers we see ourselves working with a range of smaller clients and offering a niche service in specialised areas of the market,” she added. “We will aim to cater for their needs from start to finish.”

The firm has a 1000-pallet freezer capacity, and the plan is to increase this, and also add more packaging capability. “In three years we hope to have taken more people on and to see substantial growth,” she said.

The £250,000 investment package consists of loans of £50,000 from both Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE and Development Bank of Wales, and £60,000 asset finance from Propel.  A further £90,000 was raised in asset finance from Aldermore Bank. The package was brokered by Verde Corporate Finance, which is part of the GS Verde Group.

Martin Palmer, Investment Executive with UKSE, said : “It is always good to see new jobs being created in the Valleys, and especially against the backdrop of the economic problems caused by the Pandemic. The management team has many years’ experience in the industry and excellent contacts and we are delighted to have been able to support this project.”

Mike Fenwick, Associate Director at Verde Corporate Finance, assisted the company with the finance raise, as well as preparing the business plan and financial forecasts required to do so.  Mike said: “It was a pleasure to support the management team through this process, particularly during what is a challenging time for raising finance for start-ups.  They are a fantastic team and have built a first- class facility in Merthyr, which will service the needs of customers in the food sector.  We wish the new business every success for the future”.

Emily Wood, Investment Executive at the Development Bank of Wales said: “This deal represents excellent collaboration between Celtic Cold Storage and their funders. As co-investors, we’re delighted to be able to offer a micro loan that will help to create jobs in Merthyr Tydfil and support the growth of Celtic Cold Storage as a new business.”

Mark Mountford of Propel added: “Propel are delighted to support Celtic Cold Storage Ltd with an Asset Finance facility of £60,000 to help acquire business-critical equipment. Propel worked closely with their management team to fully understand their business plan; and are pleased that Celtic Cold Storage Ltd has a positive proposition along with the added bonus of creating new jobs in the area.”