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R&G International Trading – Bibby Financial Services case study

Clothing wholesaler set to expand on back of £5m strong finance facility

Edinburgh based wholesaler set to double turnover thanks to business funding 

R&G International Trading is set to double its turnover and reach £30 million in the next three years thanks to a £5 million strong trade, stock and invoice discounting finance facility provided by Bibby Financial Services. The deal was secured on the back of a strategic business review undertaken with accountancy and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

Established in 2001, the Edinburgh based business imports men’s, women’s and children’s clothing from Hong Kong and supplies to leading UK retailers including George at Asda.

On the back of its business review and the resulting refinancing, R&G International Trading is set to expand its product range and enhance design and quality of products.

The business was set up by Carole Tong and her Hong Kong-based business partners. They spotted a gap in the market to create a business that both sourced manufacturing facilities in the Far East, especially in China, and supplied to retailers in the UK – allowing R&G to eliminate agent’s commission and offer a more competitively priced product. The business employs staff in both the UK and Hong Kong, with ten employees based in Edinburgh and 18 in Hong Kong.

The business had always used an invoice finance facility from a bank but when it needed to expand and take on a combination of funding products, it turned to accountancy and advisory firm Grant Thornton for advice.

John Montague, director at Grant Thornton, said: “We have worked with R&G for a number of years and therefore worked closely with Carole and her team when they sought to review their strategy with a view of maximising their long-term goals. We worked closely with our tax colleagues and helped R&G refine its strategy, improve working capital management and deliver a more tax efficient group structure.”

R&G International Trading switched to alternative lender Bibby Financial Services for funding, as they could offer the flexibility to meet the business’s needs.

Managing director of R&G International Trading, Carole Tong said: “When we were looking to refine our business strategy it made sense to engage with the Grant Thornton team to ensure we were covering all the bases as effectively as possible. They helped us see things within the wider economic context, challenged our strategy and supported us in refreshing our market approach which was invaluable. They were instrumental in helping us secure the new bespoke funding solution from Bibby Financial Services.

“Bibby was able to give us the flexibility to pay our suppliers more quickly, reduce our costs and therefore be more competitive. The trade finance facility means we have the support to manage the seasonality of the business. With this additional funding in place and our new working relationship with Bibby we can really concentrate on expanding our product range and enhancing the design and quality of the product.”

The £5m bespoke finance package for R&G International Trading is the largest deal completed in Scotland by Bibby Financial Services to date.

Managing director at Bibby Trade Finance Mark Lindsay said: “Many UK SMEs still aren’t aware of the funding options available to them. We would urge businesses to seek advice and consultancy from their advisors and accountants when considering funding alternatives. This way they will have a greater understanding of the different forms of finance and will be in a position to make an informed decision about which would suit their business best.”