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Food firm given £1.5m mitigation loan to ease impact of emergency

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Gareth Chambers with chairman Howard Farquhar

Gareth Chambers with chairman Howard Farquhar

Gareth Chambers with chairman Howard Farquhar

A Co Down sandwich and 'food to go' company has announced it has borrowed £1.5m from Barclays under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme.

The firm, which employs 330 people at its Newry headquarters and a manufacturing site in Slough, England, supplies customers across the UK and Ireland, including airports, event companies and coffee shop chains, which have closed in the recent lockdown.

The company said it will suffer a 70% fall in projected turnover in the next three months, adding that the Barclays scheme will support cash flow, allowing Around Noon to pay over 100 local suppliers and support salaries for staff not on furlough.

Chief executive Gareth Chambers said: "This year we were targeting a sales turnover of £30m. However, in the space of two weeks sales dropped dramatically due to the impact of coronavirus.

"Having also just won a number of new contracts worth several million pounds, which are now on hold, we have had to furlough a significant number of staff and reduce production days.

"We want to make sure we continue to pay our suppliers and staff during the period of this pandemic."

Belfast Telegraph