Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Loan fund backs coffee specialist for future growth

A coffee specialist in Lisburn is raising a cup of joe to the future after securing a cash injection from the Growth Loan Fund.

Pure Roast Coffee said it will concentrate on boosting export sales after the investment of an undisclosed sum.

The firm, which is headed up by former O'Kane Food Service managing director Martin Symington, specialises in the growing 'single serve' coffee market.

Customers of its coffee pods include international airline Emirate Airlines.

Mr Symington said the company, now in its third year, had tried to obtain funding from banks before turning to the Growth Loan Fund, which has £50m to lend over the next five years.

"We found it impossible for banks to lend us money, even though we were profitable in our second and third year," he said.

"The funding from the Growth Loan Fund really has been a godsend."

He said the single-service market as "the fastest-growing coffee market out there". The coffee, which is roasted by the firm, is contained in tea bag-like pods.

Mr Symington said the funding had enabled it to invest in a specialist 'roll mill' coffee grinder from Chicago, costing $150,000.

Finance for the fund, which is aimed at providing finance to established small and medium-sized businesses, is provided by Invest NI and the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).

The company is one of 15 to have already secured approval for investment from the new fund, which was launched in June.

Paul Millar of WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, set up to respond to fund inquires, said: "Pure Roast Coffee is a superb example of forward thinking that will lead to further growth through export."