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FinanceSeamark secure Barclays funding to help them through pandemic

Seamark secure Barclays funding to help them through pandemic

One of Europe’s leading processors, exporters and distributors of frozen food, Seamark plc, has secured a seven-figure funding package from Barclays through the Government-backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) in order to maintain the ability to trade through the COVID-19 crisis ensuring the business can emerge stronger after what is a hugely difficult time for the whole industry.

Headquartered in Manchester, Seamark specialise in seafood, particularly Black Tiger shrimps. The business was established in 1991 by the Ahmed brothers (Iqbal, Kamal and Bilal) to supply seafood worldwide and stemmed from their earlier business, IBCO Limited, which was established in 1976.

Seamark is based in Manchester with its head office, warehouse, three cold stores and two processing plants. The substantial premises, which houses the head office, also boast Seamark’s own destination restaurant and banqueting hall vermilion.uk.com and its other UK businesses, IBCO Limited and Restaurant Wholesale which supply the UK retail, wholesale and restaurant market. They employ around 300 people in the UK. To ensure sustainable supply, Iqbal set up Seamark (BD) Limited in Bangladesh in 2000.

In February 2020, Seamark moved their day to day banking, including trade & working capital finance to Barclays with a view to expand its business, just before Covid-19 started to really impact the UK. A large proportion of Seamark’s customer base in the UK and the EU are involved in the catering and food service supply chain which was then directly impacted as countries entered different phases of lockdown from March onwards, and Seamark’s supply chain in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam China, Thailand, EU and the USA has also been hugely affected by Covid-19.

This ultimately provided an additional and unexpected need for financial support, whilst Seamark, like many other businesses in the sector, have effectively seen a 4 month ‘pause’ to a large part of their trade, and probably disruption for the next 6-18 months whilst consumer confidence builds up as countries come out of lockdown

Iqbal Ahmed OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of Seamark plc, said, “We’re delighted to get this deal over the line – it really illustrates the strength of our business and is a very positive indicator of market confidence in our sector despite the challenges in the global economy. Our business relationship with Matt Ryan has developed over the last 4 years and we finally agreed to move back to Barclays this year.

“We really appreciate the support the bank has given to us in this difficult time, in particular the team that managed the banking transition and the CLBIL funding which has enabled us to pay all our suppliers. We are now sourcing new product and have a dedicated team working hard to service our customers many of which are in the catering and food service sector, and this will help us recover from the Covid-19 crisis and emerge even stronger than before.”

Matt Ryan, Barclays Relationship Director, said, “The Barclays Retail & Wholesale team in Manchester have built a strong relationship and sector understanding with the Ahmed family and Seamark and IBCO management team over the past few years and it was clear that this was strong and successful business before Covid-19 and would continue to be so afterwards. We were therefore able to structure a three-year revolving credit facility, supported by the Government-backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, in addition to the existing trade and working capital products provided to the company to support them through this period.”

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