Asset based lending funds acquisition for First Milk

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Asset based lending facility from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance used to fund acquisition

The ongoing support of our banking partners has been central to our continued expansion in the UK and overseas, which is building significant value for our farmer shareholders and customers alike.

First Milk, the dairy farmer cooperative, has used an asset based lending (ABL) facility jointly provided by Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Barclays to fund its acquisition of CNP Professional, a leading sports nutrition business. The deal value was undisclosed.

A proportion of the £130 million funding package, which was co-arranged by the lenders in 2009 to facilitate long-term expansion, has been called upon for acquisition finance as the company diversifies its operations into the functional foods sector.

Glasgow-headquartered First Milk is the UK's leading dairy farmer-owned firm, with business operations which encompass milk supply, cheese production and ingredients development.
Its farmer members in England, Scotland and Wales supply a large proportion of Great Britain's milk, while the cooperative’s cheese company provides a number of leading retailers with own label products, as well as operating award winning brands including Mull of Kintyre and the Lake District Cheese Company. First Milk also supplies a range of customers with whey products and innovative dairy ingredients.

Ongoing Banking Support Central

CNP Professional, which is headquartered in Manchester, markets and sells a broad range of quality products for the sports nutrition market. These are targeted at dedicated sportsmen and women, and are currently sold through a range of channels.

The company also works directly with a number of professional athletes across a wide spectrum of competitive sports including football, rugby, boxing, cycling, martial arts, triathlon and motor sports.

The deal follows the formation of a successful joint venture in September 2011 between First Milk and New Zealand-based company Fonterra to produce premium whey proteins to go into functional food products for consumers across Europe. This experience, alongside growth projected in the sector, led First Milk to identify value generating acquisitions in the market, resulting in this latest transaction.

Ian Forgie, First Milk’s group finance director, said: "With the acquisition of CNP Professional – which stood out as the company that was the best fit for us due to its sector credibility and focused product range – we believe that we have invested in a strong company in a rapidly growing sector.

“The ongoing support of our banking partners has been central to our continued expansion in the UK and overseas, which is building significant value for our farmer shareholders and customers alike.”

Steve Chapman, client manager in the Large and Major Corporate team at Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, commented: “The firm’s experienced and acquisitive management team has identified notable potential in the sports nutrition products category through CNP Professional, and has significant opportunity to further grow the business on an international scale as the market for its supplements expands. We remain committed to supporting the company’s progressive business model and expansion strategy.”

Euan Murray, Relationship Director, Barclays Corporate Banking, added: “This particular deal demonstrates our continued support for First Milk and the management team. The acquisition of CNP allows them to diversify from their core product range and into growth markets, both nationally and internationally, for a more health conscious population.”

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance supports a number of business clients of all sizes in the UK and globally with a range of invoice finance solutions such as invoice discounting, factoring and asset-based lending.

The provision of credit or leasing services by us is subject to you meeting our Credit approval. Please ensure that you only apply for credit or leasing services that you can comfortably afford.

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance is a trading name of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance Limited.

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance Limited Registered Office: No. 1, Brookhill Way, Banbury, OX16 3EL. Registered in England and Wales no. 733011.

KIV LloydsTSB Commercial Finance Scotland Limited for BOS & possibly LTSB - 110 St Vincent St, Glasgow, G2 5ER.

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