A new cold storage business has been launched in Merthyr with a £250,000 investment package to support its ambitious growth plans.

Celtic Cold Storage has been set up by Andy Phillips and Jayne Bowen-Davies who together have 60 years experience in the industry.

It provides packing, cold-storage and transport service to leading supermarkets, as well as to smaller food suppliers.

The £250,000 investment package consists of  50,000 from both Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE and Development Bank of Wales, and £60,000 asset finance from Propel. 

A further £90,000 was raised in asset finance from Aldermore Bank. The package was brokered by Verde Corporate Finance, which is part of the GS Verde Group.

The start-up currently employs 10, but aims to see its workforce at least double over the next three years.

Director Ms Bowen-Davies said: “The Valleys, like many other areas, is suffering badly because of the effects of Covid-19.

“We will be very pleased if we can put jobs back into the Valleys and do what we can to help the local economy bounce back from this terrible situation.”

Clients include Morrisons, M&S and Castle Dairies. Ms Bowen-Davies said: “As well as the bigger food retailers we see ourselves working with a range of smaller clients and offering a niche service in specialised areas of the market.”

The firm has a 1,000-pallet freezer capacity, and the plan is to increase this, and also add more packaging capability

Ms Bowen-Davies said “In three years we hope to have taken more people on and to see substantial growth.”

Martin Palmer, investment executive with UKSE, said : “It is always good to see new jobs being created in the Valleys, and especially against the backdrop of the economic problems caused by the Pandemic. The management team has many years’ experience in the industry and excellent contacts and we are delighted to have been able to support this project.”

Mike Fenwick, associate director at Verde Corporate Finance, assisted the company with the finance raise, as well as preparing the business plan and financial forecasts required to do so.

Mr Fenwick said: “It was a pleasure to support the management team through this process, particularly during what is a challenging time for raising finance for start-ups.  They are a fantastic team and have built a first-class facility in Merthyr, which will service the needs of customers in the food sector.

“We wish the new business every success for the future.”

Emily Wood, investment executive at the Development Bank of Wales said: “This deal represents excellent collaboration between Celtic Cold Storage and their funders. As co-investors, we’re delighted to be able to offer a micro loan that will help to create jobs in Merthyr Tydfil and support the growth of Celtic Cold Storage as a new business.”

Mark Mountford of Propel added: “Propel are delighted to support Celtic Cold Storage with an Asset Finance facility of £60,000 to help acquire business-critical equipment. Propel worked closely with their management team to fully understand their business plan; and are pleased that Celtic Cold Storage has a positive proposition along with the added bonus of creating new jobs in the area.”