Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

Camper van firm in £350k growth boost

By Margaret Canning

Published 25/03/2014

Bunk Campers directors, Louise Corken and Keith Charlton, with David McCurley, senior investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners
Bunk Campers directors, Louise Corken and Keith Charlton, with David McCurley, senior investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners

Ireland's only all-island camper van company has received a loan from the £50m Growth Loan Fund to help fund its ambitions – which include opening a depot at Gatwick Airport.

Bunk Campers, based in the east of Belfast, was granted a loan of £350,000 from the £50m fund, which provides growth finance to well-established small to medium-sized enterprises.

The thriving firm said it will use the finance to create new jobs in Great Britain and continue the growth of its brands in homes and the overseas market.

It was set up in 2007 by husband-and-wife Keith Charlton and Louise Corken, and has grown into one of the UK's biggest camper van hire firms, with a fleet of 80 vehicles and three hire depots in Scotland. Director Louise Corken said: "When Keith and I invested in starting the company, we had done our homework and took a calculated risk on the size of the market opportunity.

"The strength of our brand differentiated Bunk Campers from our competitors, enabling us to expand rapidly and led to our success in overseas markets. This loan ensures we can continue to move forward to another exciting chapter."

It will also launch into further expansion in the UK, with the opening of a depot at London Gatwick to attract business from tourists travelling by air into Britain. The business is part of the Blue Quadrant Leisure Group, which also runs Nomad Campervans, and online supplies store Camperworks.

Keith Charlton said the pair aim to make Blue Quadrant the dominant market leader in the camper van industry.

The Growth Loan Fund is financed by Invest NI and private investor, the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee.

It is managed by WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP and has approved loans of over £18m to 60 indigenous SMEs around Northern Ireland. Senior investment manager, David McCurley, said: "This is an exciting, locally-based company with great ambition for growth through the further development of a number of new export channels."

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