Farm machinery firm secures £230,000 funding package for its expansion plans

Cheshire-based Spread-a-Bale offers a range of agricultural equipment which can be used for spreading bales of straw, up to 700kg in weight, on farms

From left, Ian Adams, business development manager Bathgate Business Finance with Michael Hughes from Spread a Bale. Picture by Gareth Jones

Cheshire farm machinery specialist Spread-a-Bale is targeting overseas expansion and a new factory after raising a £230,000 finance package.

The firm, located on Thornton Science Park, offers a range of agricultural equipment which can be used for spreading bales of straw, up to 700kg in weight, on farms.

Its latest lightweight range of machines, which will be launched soon, provides a much more efficient solution for farmers around the UK, and abroad, says Spread-a-Bale managing director, Michael Hughes.

“It is a niche product for the agricultural market and now renewable energy markets,” he said.

Right deal

Professional advisors to Spread-a-Bale were Liverpool-based MC Vanguard who worked with West Kirby-based Bathgate Business Finance to identify funding.

Bathgate’s business development manager Ian Adams was able to introduce Mr Hughes to Chester-based finance provider Zodeq, which specialises in invoice financing.

Bathgate Business Finance also helped in negotiations with Spread-a-Bale’s existing lenders which led to a total financial package for the firm of £200,000 of invoice financing, and a £30,000 loan.

More efficient

Mr Hughes added: “Our machines are unique with lots of unique selling points and patent protection, making farmers more efficient by using less straw, and less labour.”

He said the new lightweight machine is ideal for the majority of farmers who have smaller capacity loaders, which make up around 80% of the livestock farming sector.

This is equivalent to more than 85,000 prospective customers in the UK alone.

Overseas expansion

And while the company has exported agricultural equipment for the past 15 years, it is now embarking on significant overseas expansion, particularly in the North and South American markets.

Mr Hughes said overseas sales currently account for around 33% of Spread-a-Bale’s total turnover, but he believes this could soon increase, to the point of overtaking the firm’s UK sales levels.

“Sales in the UK are going very well, but we are expanding into North America and Spain and we have just sent a container to Australia and possibly one to Chile,” he explained.

“Our intention is to set up a new factory in Chester, which could create up to 12 jobs over the next three years.”

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