Brewery gets £24m boost

DONE DEAL: Camerons bosses David (left) and Christopher Soley
DONE DEAL: Camerons bosses David (left) and Christopher Soley

A HARTLEPOOL brewery is looking to start the year on a high after securing a multi-million pound boost.

Camerons Brewery has clinched a £24m refinancing package. It is now hoping to grow and look for more business opportunities after extending its existing loan with the RBS bank.

Camerons was founded in 1865 and has been under its current ownership since 2002. It produced around 600,000 barrels of beer last year.

But bosses say they are operating at between 80 and 85 per cent of capacity and there’s space to take on more business.

Now, thanks to RBS agreeing to give the brewery a chance to spread its existing loan over a longer period, brewery bosses can look to find more business.

Camerons employs 90 people in its brewery as well as 30 people in three managed pubs. It also owns an estate of 69 pubs across the North of England.

Camerons manufactures a range of beers and ales including the well-known Strongarm Ruby Red Ale and Trophy Special.

The business is 76 per cent owned by chairman David Soley and his family, with the remaining 24 per cent being owned by Heineken UK, who Camerons also have a significant contract brewing agreement with.

RBS first worked with the group in 2004, and it continues to be the only bank Camerons works with. It has already supported capital investment by the brewery as well as helping it to acquire pubs.

The latest deal is arranged on a three and a half year basis with RBS as the only arranger.

Camerons chairman David Soley said: “Royal Bank of Scotland provided us with a competitive refinancing offer which we are delighted to have received. We pride ourselves on our strong independent, customer-focused business model and continue to seek further opportunities to grow our presence in prime North-East markets.”

Finance director John Foots told the Hartlepool Mail: “This gives us longer term financial security and it provides a greater platform from which we should be able to grow.

“We continue to win new business and new contract brewing business, and we are trying to fill the brewery up. We are brewing more than 600,000 barrels and can brew even more.”

Graham Robinson, relationship director for RBS CIB, said: “Camerons is a very strong business and we are delighted to support the firm in this latest deal. They have some exciting growth plans for increasing their brewery output and spread of customers, and we look forward to working with the brewery long into the future.”