A fish farm near Gigha that was supplied to the Scottish Salmon Company by Gael Force, which has agreed a flexible finance deal with its new banker, RBS. Photo: Gael Force.

Bank on us to fund growth, RBS tells Gael Force

Scottish aquaculture supplier Gael Force Group is moving ahead with ambitious growth plans after agreeing a flexible support package including working capital loans from its new banking services provider, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

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The Inverness-based company’s plans include a multi-million-pound investment in aquaculture R&D to deliver improved fish health, reduced predation, and create a greener, more carbon friendly way of fish farming.

Gael Force finance director Robert Foster said: “For almost 40 years, we have been driven to partner with our customers, whether it be the established salmon farmer or the hard-working local fishing community – so we know the importance of lasting, trusted relationships.

Robert Foster: RBS understands firm's vision for sustainable growth.

“It’s something we have in common with the team at Royal Bank of Scotland, who have made the re-banking process as streamlined as possible. They understand our vision and our shared sentiment for sustainable growth, and we are confident this is the beginning of a fruitful and lasting partnership.”

Consistent growth

Barry Fraser, relationship director at RBS, said the bank placed a huge importance on sustainability, and was keen to support the plans set out by Gael Force, which supplies everything from feed barges to toilet rolls to fish farmers and employs more than 200 staff throughout Scotland, England and Canada.

“The company has delivered consistent growth since being established in 1983, and we are looking forward to working with the management team to help deliver their strategy in the years to come,” said Fraser.

In a press release, RBS said Gael Force had a strategy to expand into global markets, with several initiatives in the pipeline including technologically intelligent solutions required to tackle salmon industry challenges to sustainable growth.

Gael Force supplies pens, feed barges, lighting and mooring for salmon farming, among other things. Click on image to enlarge. Graphic: Gael Force Group.

Key drivers

Gael Force saw annual sales grow from £17.1 million in 2016 to £41.5m in 2019 and plans for a similar rate of growth over the next five years, despite business being impacted by Covid-19.

The company has identified six key drivers for growth which it has placed at the core of its strategy: product innovation, manufacturing excellence, quality assurance, best-in-class service, sustainability, and export market development.

Announcing its five-year plan in July last year, Gael Force founder and managing director Stewart Graham said: “We move forward with every confidence that our new strategic aims and ambitions to be world class, will provide us with a stronger footing to be even more competitive, more innovative and value adding to the market and uphold our reputation for being a trusted partner to our long-standing customers, both in Scotland, Canada and in our target export markets.”