Fast-growing Welsh sports nutrition company Nutrivend has secured a £150,000 loan from UK Steel Enterprise to drive forward ambitious expansion plans.

As the British fitness industry, worth £4.4 billion, forges ahead, former Welsh rugby internationals Scott Morgan and Barry Davies are aiming to double turnover to £6.5 million over the next three years. They also plan to take on 9 extra staff in that time as the business grows.

The new investment comes as Llantrisant-based Nutrivend continues to expand its services around the UK, supplying gyms with vending machines stocking a range of branded, top quality sports nutrition products for clients such as The Gym Group and Xercise4less.

The investment will also support a move into wholesale distribution, as well as setting up an online ecommerce sales platform, touch-screen vending and other technical innovations in their products.

The firm, launched in 2012, is capitalising on the dramatic rise in gym membership, as well as the growing demand for quality nutritional products.

Fitness is big business in the UK. Gym membership rose to 9.2 million in 2016 and is estimated to be worth a massive £4.4 billion.

The company has a staff of 21 at its Llantrisant office and a turnover of £3 million last year. “Our business plan projects an increase of turnover to £6.5 million in the next three years, and we will aim to have 30 staff by that stage,” said Scott Morgan.

“The business has seen a period of rapid growth in recent years,” commented the former Wales lock. “We are one of the fastest growing companies in Wales, featuring in The Western Mail Fast Growth 50.

“Demand for our products is growing all the time and this new investment from UK Steel Enterprise will enable us to accelerate our growth plans.”

Martin Palmer of Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise, said: ”Nutrivend has, in a relatively short time, established a strong market presence in a competitive and fast-growing sector.

“We are delighted to have been able to provide strategic support to assist the company in their job creation aspirations, helping them take advantage of opportunities as they arise and open new avenues for sales, as well as developing new innovations.”

Nutrivend attracted a substantial investment 12 months ago from Development Bank of Wales (then Finance Wales) and the existing shareholders, to increase storage capacity and staff levels.

The company has some 600 vending machines in sports locations around the UK, and this fresh investment from UKSE will help it to increase that number to 650. The eventual goal is 2000 Nutrivend machines across the country.

Nutrivend covers the whole of the UK from premises in Llantrisant, Manchester, London and Glasgow.

“This is a fast-moving industry, and we need to keep ahead of trends and look at what is likely to be the next development,” said Scott Morgan.

“We believe we have an appropriate business model to handle a fast pace of change and one that can be scaled-up as we grow.”

Photo Caption: Going for growth: Former Wales lock Scott Morgan (left) and UK Steel Enterprise’s Martin Palmer.

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