15 October 2019

Project overview.

  • Case study type: Investment
  • Activity: Food production
  • Region: Yorkshire, Humberside & the Midlands

Abbeydale Food Group is a great example of the benefit a long term funding partner can bring to a business. From early stage funding through to relocation and eventually acquisition, we were there to help.

Abbeydale was established when the management team identified an opportunity to buy two ailing businesses, one making pies and one supplying potato products. The team were talented, experienced and ambitious.

Led by Andrew Hayes, the team first brought the two companies back to profitability and then looked for growth opportunities. We were impressed by the directors right from the start. They had food industry experience, were focused on quality, introducing new products and looking to accelerate growth.

It was also clear that they would need finance to make it happen. But finance was difficult to secure: their track record was limited, and they had no security to offer. They needed working capital to support growing sales and subsequently they would need to move into bigger, better premises too.

"The team has been very supportive of our aims. UKSE has not only come up with the vital funding but also with creative ideas and great options for us. We would not have been able to do what we have done without UKSE."
Andrew Hayes, Managing Director

How we did it.

The directors had already demonstrated initial success in growing the businesses they had acquired. But they had also identified lots of other opportunities. Over a five year period, we provided finance several times, investing almost £1m in total.

We invested in the share capital of the company, long term funding from a patient partner. We provided unsecured lending alongside this investment and supported with further finance as the company expanded.

We also introduced them to others that could help, including a supportive bank which enabled the move to a purpose built food factory. Another introduction resulted in the company receiving grant funding from North Lincolnshire Council. And we were always happy to give our views on the directors’ plans.

Our finance was initially required for working capital, but we provided more towards a relocation to bigger premises, for equipment and to help support further expansion including an acquisition.

The results.

Substantial growth

From sales of over £3m when we first invested, the company has grown significantly, both organically and by acquisition. Sales are now well over £22m.

Key local employer

Abbeydale now employs over 80 in its home town of Scunthorpe and 260 in total. With a fair wind these numbers should grow further.


The company now has a much bigger product range, including a variety of frozen and chilled sandwiches and snacks, and operates from multiple sites.