Banbury-headquartered First Line, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of premium-quality automotive components to the vehicle aftermarket, has secured £20 million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The funding will help the firm expand its exports and capitalise on growth opportunities in overseas markets.
Founded in 1983, First Line has become an established world-wide supplier to the vehicle aftermarket via three brands: First Line, Borg & Beck and Key Parts. Its Oxfordshire base now has 170,000 sq ft of warehouse space, supported by a 15,000 sq ft distribution centre in Belfast and subsidiary operations in Spain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. In total, the company employs over 200 staff globally.
The company already supplies warehouse distributors and wholesalers in over 70 countries, predominantly via the 100 year old Borg & Beck brand, which is world-renowned for the pedigree of its car parts. Across its three brands, First Line offers a range of over 37,000 parts for all makes of vehicle.
The £20m in funding from Santander, spread across a suite of solutions including asset finance, foreign exchange and invoice finance products, will help First Line build on the strong exporting momentum the firm has developed. The business expects 30% of its annual turnover in 2018 to come from export sales, which has seen robust year-on-year growth over the past six years.
Keith Schofield, finance director, First Line, said: “We are delighted with the ongoing success of the business and the opportunities presented by overseas markets are truly exciting. Growth will be achieved via a number of strategies including new products and focussing on new segments such as classic cars. Santander has quickly become a trusted partner, providing the financial support and facilities needed for us to take the company to the next level.”
Steve Bateman, relationship director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “First Line is looking to grow its market share globally over the next few years and the facilities offered by Santander will be key for them to achieve these growth ambitions. We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic, growth-focused UK business that will benefit from Santander’s unrivalled expertise in helping SMEs export and trade internationally.”