Shetland marine vessel business embarks on new wave of growth thanks to Clydesdale Bank

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Shetland marine vessel business embarks on new wave of growth thanks to Clydesdale Bank

A Shetland-based marine firm that specialises in the transportation of live fish is doubling the number of staff it employs after acquiring a new vessel with support from Clydesdale Bank.

North Isles Marine Ltd is creating up to nine new jobs after purchasing the Ronja Settler, a 40-metre long wellboat. Wellboats contain large vats of water that enable fish to remain live up until the point of processing, maximising quality and freshness.

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The acquisition of the vessel was supported by a seven figure funding package from Clydesdale Bank’s Highlands and Islands Business and Private Banking team supported by Karen Perriman from the bank’s specialist marine finance team.

Based on Yell, in the Shetland Isles, North Isles Marine was founded in September 2008 with the launch of MV Norholm. Also a wellboat, the 32-m long vessel has a 320-cubic metre capacity and is used to transport smolt from hatcheries to fish farms. It is staffed by a crew of eight.

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The Yell firm’s main customer is Scottish Sea Farms, an internationally renowned producer of quality Scottish salmon. The Ronja Settler, which has a 650-metre cubic capacity, has been engaged full-time by Scottish Sea Farms to transport fish from farm to factory. It will be manned by a crew of up to nine staff – effectively doubling the number of people employed by North Isles Marine.

North Isles Marine, which is an existing customer of Clydesdale Bank, currently generates a turnover in excess of £1 million.

Clydesdale Bank is a strong supporter of the marine sector. Its dedicated marine finance team was launched last year to provide enhanced support to the growing commercial marine and workboat sector. The new team was established to supply tailored solutions to marine firms, including allowing operators to use the equity held in their entire fleet if Clydesdale Bank is the sole provider of finance.

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Previously in the sector, operators used multiple funders to access asset finance for single vessels.

Marianne Clark, co-director of North Isles Marine, said: “Acquiring the Ronja Settler is a big step forward for us. The vessel has double the capacity of our original wellboat, the MV Norholm, and has enabled us to undertake a new exclusive contract with Scottish Sea Farms and double our workforce.

As a rural, island-based business, we’re extremely pleased that we are creating new jobs.

“We’d like to thank Clydesdale Bank for its support and expertise. Not only do its staff possess an in-depth knowledge of Scotland’s rural economies, they have also taken time to really understand the marine sector and tailor their services accordingly. We look forward to working in partnership with Clydesdale Bank to achieve our growth aspirations.”

George Moodie, Clydesdale Bank’s Head of Business and Private Banking in the Highlands and Islands, said: “It gives us great pleasure to extend our support for North Isles Marine, a well-managed and strong marine transport firm, and it is extremely rewarding to know that our partnership with the business has resulted in new jobs.

“With business and private banking staff across the Highlands and Islands, we work hard to help our rural customers to achieve their growth aspirations and thrive in economies that often operate very differently to the remainder of Scotland.

“Our specialist knowledge of and focus on different sectors, as seen with the involvement of our dedicated marine finance team in this transaction, helps to bring a challenge to the market, giving small and medium sized businesses the speed and flexibility they need to fulfil their ambitions.”

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