Barclays supporting Balcas in ambitious growth plans

The County Fermanagh-based timber and renewable energy business, Balcas, has moved its banking to Barclays. The company, which has an annual turnover of c£100m has 380 direct employees across its operations in Enniskillen, Scotland and England.

Gavin Campbell, Barclays Corporate Banking Relationship Director said the company’s impressive track record and ambitious growth plans makes them a standout local business to work with.  He said, “Balcas began business as a timber processor, servicing the agriculture and construction industries, and they now have an impressive customer base across the UK and Ireland. 100% of the raw material used in Balcas operations is from the sustainably managed forests of the UK and Ireland.

“Over the past 15 years Balcas has invested heavily and extended its business into the renewables sector. It uses the co-products of its timber manufacturing to make briteswood pellet fuel and to generate green electricity which not only powers its entire operation but also supplies energy back into the grid. They have integrated state of the art technology into the sawmilling process which has led to significant efficiencies within the manufacturing process”

Brian Murphy, CEO of Balcas puts sustainability at the centre of the firm’s future.  He explained, “Timber is the ultimate sustainable product and our forests contain the best carbon capture technology known to mankind. Wood from sustainably managed commercial forests is our lowest-carbon building product. Many people don’t realise that forestry is an important part of our agri-business sector. Balcas works very closely with the NI Forest Service, Coillte in the Republic of Ireland, the Forestry Commission, and private landowners to source timber and to ensure that everything harvested is replanted.”

“The use of brites as a renewable fuel for heat in leading supermarkets, in large Scottish distilleries, in hospitals, schools and hotels and in people’s homes leads to the displacement of more than 100 million litres of heating oil each year.”

Gavin Campbell continued, “Balcas approached Barclays as they have exciting growth plans and required banking facilities to match the scale of their day to day operations, as well as those arising from planned expansion in both the UK and Irish markets.  Within the past twelve months, Balcas acquired Forever Fuels in the South of England, which has grown their production facilities by roughly 25%. This will be instrumental in their growth plan, as it offers new GB storage facilities, which will streamline their distribution across England and Wales.

“We are Balcas’ sole bank for all day to day operational clearing and we provide them with an invoice discounting facility to support their working capital requirements.  Being a rurally-based business both here in Northern Ireland and in Scotland, the strength of Barclays digital platform gives them 24/7 online access to all the facilities and information they need for efficient financial management.  Balcas is a really exciting and visionary business and we are looking forward to supporting their ambitions for growth in Ireland and GB.

“Their emphasis on sustainability and renewable energy is closely aligned with our own, as Barclays recently announced its commitment to move its entire global operational electricity requirements over to renewable energy sources within ten years.  We also have a dedicated Global Green Banking Team, supporting customers with their transition towards more sustainable business models.”

Brian Murphy concluded: “In Barclays we found a banking partner that spent time getting to understand our business and the industry we operate in. Their industry focus has further been evidenced to us in seminars and events we have attended.”

“Having had previous experience of re-banking, we can testify with confidence to the smooth transition that we had across to Barclays – the on-boarding process was well scoped, co-ordinated and managed throughout with regular updates and support being available when required.”

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