• Business: Carmichael International
  • Turnover: £16m
  • Funding line: £5m
  • Location: East Yorkshire
  • Sector: Wholesale Timber
BFS has been with us every step of the way, and we are hugely grateful that the team bought into our business plan at such an early stage. Sam Carmichael, Managing Director, Carmichael International Ltd

How to become a market leader with external funding

For Sam Carmichael, a career in the wholesale timber industry has been a hugely successful one. After gaining over 15 years’ experience working for big industry players, Sam decided to go it alone by setting up his own venture, Carmichael International.

Sam’s longstanding industry relationships, combined with a coherent business strategy, has allowed Carmichael International to establish itself as the UK’s largest importer of wholesale timber, all in the space of just five years. The business procures sustainable, high-quality stock from suppliers in North-West Russia and the Baltic region. These working relationships are very much the cornerstone of the company’s success.

Carmichael International comprises a vital element of the supply chain for businesses across several industries. Looking at one industry, Carmichael works with furniture manufacturers who supply high street retailers during the winter months, while garden centres take on the procured timber for the manufacturing of garden buildings for the summer. Supporting the production of a wide range of goods ensures the business is able to maintain a consistently strong revenue stream.

In 2015, Sam approached BFS seeking a funding package to kickstart the business and foster smooth relationships with suppliers. The bespoke package, initially a £300,000 facility including Trade Finance and Factoring support, has gradually increased over time in line with the company’s growth, and now totals £5m. The business has consistently doubled its annual revenue and is on course to generate £16m this calendar year.

The funding has helped Carmichael undertake larger monthly shipments of timber from Russia, and the business is now operating its own shipping vessels to maximise efficiency.

The business oversees its operations from a small head office in Brough, East Yorkshire, and works with a team of roving sales directors across the UK. With the business working a high level of turnover, operating with low overhead costs is a clever way to protect the business’s cashflow.

The latest round of funding enables the business to solidify its market-leading position and press on with expansion plans, in spite of continued economic uncertainty in the UK. Targeted areas of growth include heavy-duty manufacturing, such as providing composite decking to its existing partners in the garden furniture industry.

Sam Carmichael, Managing Director, Carmichael International Ltd, said:

“Our business is in a very healthy position. We’re generating record revenues thanks to exceptionally strong demand from our customers, and we’re excited to expand into new product areas to fuel further growth.

“BFS has been with us every step of the way, and we are hugely grateful that the team bought into our business plan at such an early stage. They took the time to delve into the intricacies of our business to structure a funding package that specifically recognised our need to establish strong relationships overseas.

“This attention to detail is complemented by the team’s impressive understanding of the industry and markets we operate in, something which we didn’t receive from other funding providers.”

Chris Crank, Relationship Manager at Bibby Financial Services, said:

“Carmichael International’s transition to generating multi-million revenues in such a short space of time is hugely commendable. The business has developed a highly sophisticated and efficient supply chain and it is no surprise it has established itself as a market leader in the UK.

“We’re very happy to continue working with Sam and his team, and will continue to offer a bespoke, flexible funding service that matches the business’s upward growth trajectory.”