L/R: Finance director Alan Hill, MD Wayne Godfrey and Stephen McNeil, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland

Scottish food group Browns has agreed a £20m funding package with Bank of Scotland to support ongoing growth and investment.

Browns will use the three-year facility to invest in product innovation and gain a stronger presence in a number of new export markets, as well as extending its manufacturing and operational capabilities.

The group’s interests includes premium brands such as Borders Gourmet, Tarbert Fine Foods, sausage maker Halls of Scotland, smoked salmon producer Lion Speciality and poultry supplier Fenton Barns.

Browns increased revenues 4.4% in 2014 to £151.7m, with operating profits rising 6.3% to £7.58m, continuing a sustained period of organic growth following the acquisition of the Halls brand in 2013. In Europe, sales jumped 17% from £726,000 in 2013 to £847,000.

“2014 has been an important year for the business in terms of driving organic growth and integrating the Halls brand further into our portfolio,” CEO Wayne Godfrey.

“Although we have experienced market challenges, we have worked with our customers and suppliers to combat the margin pressures, and through better line efficiencies and controls, turnover and operating profit has continued to rise.

“We are excited to have extended into new markets and this will be a focus for the future. We’ll continue to monitor our exporting programme as the demand continues to be felt in international markets. Product innovation is key to our ongoing business strategy and we’ll be looking to put plans into action in the coming year as we aim to achieve further growth both at home and abroad.”

Browns invested £5.8m in capital expenditure in 2014, with a significant portion ploughed into extending its Brown Brothers manufacturing site at Kirkconnel to provide increased capacity for growth.

Stephen McNeil, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Innovation is high on the agenda for Scottish food and drink businesses, according to our fourth annual Bank of Scotland report, Fresh Opportunity & Growth, and with nearly two thirds of producers planning to achieve growth by innovating new products. Browns is testimony to this as a key driver for this sector.”