Wyke Farms Ivy's Reserve Vintage Cheddar image

Source: Wyke Farms

The West Country cheesemaker has secured the finance from Barclays, guaranteed by the government’s UK Export Finance agency

Wyke Farms has secured £30m in finance from Barclays, guaranteed by the government’s UK Export Finance agency, to fund its continued expansion in overseas markets.

Announced today by international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch, the agreement means the West Country cheesemaker will benefit from UKEF’s General Export Facility – which provides partial guarantees to banks to help UK exporters to gain access to trade finance facilities, with maximum repayment terms of up to five years.

While Wyke’s products were in “high demand” globally, with the business exporting around 6,000 tonnes-worth of cheddar to more than 160 countries last year, the inflationary pressures seen across the food sector meant its costs had also “risen exponentially” and its existing financing facility needed to be revisited to cover the increase in costs, UKEF said.

With the agency’s financial backing, Wyke would be able to “promote their iconic British brand and sell more delicious British cheese to customers around the world”, added Badenoch.

“By developing these new regions, we can expand sales of our more premium cheeses, which helps to improve the milk price paid to south-west farmers and therefore benefits the whole region,” said Wyke Farms MD Rich Clothier.

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“This UKEF support has enables us to grow our business quicker by allowing us to continue to push further into markets all over the world.”

Badenoch was speaking after giving a speech at the NFU Dairy Summit at Harper Adams University – held jointly with the Department for International Trade – which followed the launch last year of the NFU’s Dairy Export Strategy.

That document laid out plans to double British dairy exports over the next 10 years as part of a bid to diversify beyond the UK market.

“Last year, dairy exporters sold £1.4bn of goods to markets around the world and the work we are doing to strike new trade deals and reduce market access barriers will only see that figure rise further,” said Badenoch, who later told The Grocer that DIT was “here to help” exporters grow their businesses.

“The summit provided a great sounding board for producers, processors and exporters to highlight some of the challenges faced and identify opportunities to help accelerate our growth in exports,” added NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes.

“If the UK dairy sector wants to be a major player in global trade and find new emerging markets, and add value to the sector, now is the time to drive our exports and capitalise on the tremendous global support that already exists for great British dairy products,” he said.