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International growth for food and medical manufacturer

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A designer and manufacturer of food defrosters and medical laboratory equipment has boosted its international sales after attracting a second round of investment from Finance Yorkshire.

Hull-based AFOS designs manufactures, installs, commissions and services equipment for global food and medical markets. Its food division makes products for the food supply chain, including smoking kilns and defrosters.

Its medical products include ventilated downdraft equipment for mortuaries, laboratories, life sciences, medical and veterinary schools

This year, AFOS secured a contract to supply three Canadian hospitals with autopsy and forensic laboratory equipment.

A £75,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire helped AFOS to complete the deal.

This is the second time that Finance Yorkshire has backed AFOS. A previous £75,000 Business Loan was used to fund a business development programme.

AFOS owner Mike Sutton is focussing on new international markets. The business recently won a contract for an all-female medical school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We have been trying to enter the Saudi market for 10 years – now we have found the right distributor and there is a raft of opportunities,” he said.

The growth in consumption of fish and ready meals is also creating demand for AFOS products.

Mike added: “Our aim is to continue to grow this business in a profitable way.

“We are investing in human resources and developing the strength of our management team.”

AFOS employs 22 people and has a turnover of £3m. Clients include UK NHS and construction companies and major supermarkets along with food processing groups including Nestle, Greencore, Bakkavor, Laborie UK and Adelie Foods.

Its products are exported to North America, Europe, Australasia and the Middle East.

Finance Yorkshire Portfolio Executive John Ellis said: “We continue to be be impressed by the growth of AFOS, which stands at the leading edge of the food and medical industries with some truly innovative products.

“It understands its customers inside out and exceeds their needs with technology-driven solutions. We look forward to working closely with AFOS as it expands into even more overseas markets.”

To date, Finance Yorkshire has made 680 investments totalling over £87m.

It provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15m from UK Government and £45m match funding from the European Investment Bank.

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Finance Yorkshire portfolio executive John Ellis and Mike Sutton of AFOS

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