Stewart Group signs £11m funding deal with Santander

Banbury-based Stewart Group, the British manufacturer and distributor of gardening products, is set for significant expansion following a £11 million funding deal with Santander Corporate & Commercial.

Stewart's key business channels are garden centres, DIY outlets, major retailers and trade, the latter encompassing housewares, catering and technical solutions. The firm reported a 25 per cent growth in business in the 2014 financial year.

Market share gains have been achieved through the use of category management techniques, which have allowed Stewart to be present in over 1,600 outlets across the UK and Eire. These include DIY outlets such as Homebase, Wilkinson and B&Q and garden centres such as Dobbies and Klondyke/Strikes, Wyevale and over 600 independent garden centres.

The company now plans to drive further growth via additional manufacturing capacity and launching a strong pipeline of new product introductions thanks to the new funding deal. Stewart was advised throughout the deal by Leamington Spa-based law firm Wright Hassall.

Established in 1945, Stewart is now in its third year at its state-of-the art Banbury manufacturing facility which followed a £15 million investor buyout supported by ECI Partners in 2012-13. Stewart relocated from its original Croydon, South London location to the purpose-equipped, 178,000 sq. ft. production facility, which has room to double output if needed.

Andy Burns, Managing Director, Stewart Group, said: "We have strong aspirations for the future. We have a robust growth strategy in place, and the funding and support from Santander and Wright Hassall will be instrumental in helping us implement this comprehensive plan across our core sectors."

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