A fresh produce business that began life as a family-run firm in Lancashire has been recognised as one of the fastest-growing international companies in the UK.
Nationwide Produce, which owns the East Anglia-based root crop grower group Richmond Farms and has six offices across the UK and some 600 customers worldwide, was featured at number 46 in the 2011 Sunday Times International Track 100 published earlier this month.
Group managing director Tim O'Malley said: "This is recognition of the fantastic growth we have achieved in international sales in the past two years that grew from less than £6m in 2008 to nearly £17m in 2010. This equates to an average increase per annum of 79 per cent.
"We adopted a strategy to develop our European business in sales and procurement, and that planning has really paid dividends."
The company was founded in 1975 by O'Malley's father Bernard and mother Joan, both from Lancashire farming families. It started life as Bernard O'Malley & Co from a small room in the family home in Southport.
Group director Patrick O'Malley added that that the opening of wholly-owned overseas branches helped increase sales.
"Our branches in Rotterdam and Almeria were originally set up solely to improve our procurement in these areas. However, having a wholly-owned presence in these markets led to us generating sales as well," he said.
"The establishment of the Belfast and Emmen branches has also been a major factor in driving overseas sales.
"When we opened our first overseas office in Rotterdam in 2004, international sales were £667,000. Last year they were £16.8m - a 25-fold increase in six years.
"Group turnover is also up from £31m in 2004 to £80m for this financial year."
NEW BUSINESS PLANNING FOR FURTHER OVERSEAS SALES GROWTH
Nationwide Produce is now looking to use its strong overseas performance as a springboard for further growth.
In particular, its next targets are the growing market in Russia, Sweden and the Caribbean.
Group director John Mann confirmed: "We plan to open an office in St Petersburg in due course.
"However, our next new office will be in Helsingborg, Sweden. This is the main entry port for fresh produce into Scandinavia, and should give us new opportunities to build our business there.
"We also recently made our first shipment of UK potatoes and onions to the Caribbean, and we hope to develop business in that part of the world."