Historical Yorkshire based equestrian business receives funding boost

Pictured is Liz Hopper


Yorkshire based Matchmakers International Ltd, one of the oldest and most established equestrian companies in the world, has received £3.75m of funding from Bibby Financial Services (BFS). The new funding package combines Invoice Discounting and Trade Finance, with Foreign Exchange facilities. 

Established in 1978, Matchmakers’ products, including footwear, headwear, safety equipment, rugs, saddles, collars, and horse blankets are designed, developed and dispatched from its facilities in Bradford, West Yorkshire.  

The business boasts five well-known equestrian brands: accessory manufacturer, Cottage Craft; Masta, which makes horse rugs; Harry Hall, an equestrian outfitter established in 1891:Tottie fashion forward riding and sportswear and Caldene, competition and outdoor wear established in 1922. The business’s customers range from large multinationals to small, independent retailers. 

The combined funding package, provided by BFS’s Corporate team in Manchester, will provide working capital to enable the business to successfully fulfil and build on peak seasonal periods, in addition to supporting the business’s import activity. FX services will be provided to enable the business to lock-in future contracts as it forward buys currency in bulk. 

Sanderson Weatherall LLP provided a full valuation of all of Matchmakers’ current inventory to facilitate the transaction. 

Liz Hopper, managing director at Matchmakers International Ltd, said: “As a company with heritage brands, we have enjoyed serving our customers for decades. We are now looking forward to focusing on developing and selling to an increasing array of businesses and consumers. We recently celebrated our most successful month, and as we approach 2017, we are excited to further establish ourselves as a leading company in this industry. 

“What attracted us to BFS was its experience in structuring such finance packages and its collaborative approach to the funding. The Corporate team at BFS understand the business and our growth ambitions, which is a huge advantage to us.” 

Dan Burton, head of Corporate (North) at BFS who led the transaction, said: “Matchmakers International Ltd is highly regarded in its industry and has been well-loved by horse enthusiasts for decades. It is a company which shares our family values, as well as our Northern heritage. 

“The key to structuring this bespoke package for the business, was working hand-in-hand with the team at Matchmakers and leveraging our expanding product portfolio. We’ve had great success combining Invoice Discounting with Trade Finance for a number of clients in 2016, and our agreement with Matchmakers is testament to our capability in this area of corporate funding.” 

BFS’s Corporate team is responsible for funding larger SMEs requiring finance packages from £1m to £15m. Since its formation, the team has structured more than 425 deals across the UK.


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