Grant Thornton helps Mole Valley Farmers secure new £50m debt facility to fund growth

The Corporate Finance team at Grant Thornton UK LLP in Bristol has concluded a £50m debt funding for Devon-based agricultural buying-group, Mole Valley Farmers.

The business, with over 9,000 farmer shareholders and a turnover of approximately £500m has a workforce of 2,100 and is one of the UK’s leading agricultural supply businesses. Given the nature of ownership the focus is on delivering value to its members, ensuring customers benefit from the best possible pricing whilst leaving enough funds in the business for future investment.

Rapid growth in the feed side of the business in the past few years led to increased working capital requirements and the business outgrew its existing financing facilities.

After several months of discussions with a small number of funders, Mole Valley turned to the debt advisory team at Grant Thornton, led locally by Paul Wood, for assistance. Using the firm’s experience of the broader debt markets, Grant Thornton approached a list of potential funders and within two weeks had secured six funding offers that could deliver the funding required. After reviewing the offers received, the Board decided to work with PNC Business Credit.

Concluding the funding package during the lockdown restrictions added to the complexities, not least, due diligence, which had to be conducted remotely. Despite these challenges, the funding package was concluded on the date agreed at the outset before lockdown restrictions were implemented.

Bruce Korican, Finance Director, Mole Valley Farmers, comments: “This new facility opens up many new avenues for our business. It allows us to flex with seasonal and weather-based fluctuations in trading, helps deliver the strength to negotiate even better deals with suppliers and provides a strong platform for our future plans.

“We are extremely grateful to the team at Grant Thornton for their straightforward and pragmatic approach. The deal process was smooth, with no surprises along the way. What’s more, they met our tight timescale for deal completion, even though we were in the midst of countrywide lockdown. That was an impressive undertaking.”

Alongside Grant Thornton, Mole Valley Farmers were also supported by the banking and property teams from Foot Anstey, led by Will Whitt and Richard Walford respectively. The PNC team was led by Justin Edwards, with legal support from Taylor Wessing.