THE family behind the Macphie of Glenbervie food manufacturing business in Kincardineshire is to diversify its interests with the establishment of a £6.3 million wind farm.
Bank of Scotland has offered the Macphie family a £5m finance deal, which will be topped up with up to £1.3m from Macphie of Glenbervie to enable Glenbervie Wind to construct two wind turbines on the Glenbervie Estate that is home to its herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle.
Around 30% of the energy generated will be used for Macphie's food production via a formal power purchase agreement, with the remainder sold to the National Grid to create an additional income stream for the family.
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Macphie finance director Raymond Howitt said: "Macphie is committed to being an industry leader in its use of green energy and we are very excited to be developing our commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly food production.
"It is also important to us as a company that we pursue our energy ambitions in a socially responsible manner and we have engaged local parties throughout the planning process.
"We will continue to seek new income streams from the Glenbervie Estate, ensuring our sustainability and future proofing jobs."
The turbines will be supplied by German company Enercon.
Their combined output is expected to be 4.6 megawatts a year and Macphie of Glenbervie is still expected to get around 65% of its electricity from the grid.
The announcement comes just days after Macphie of Glenbervie announced that chief executive and 59% shareholder Alastair Macphie will become executive chairman from April. Andrew Underwood, previously sales and marketing director, will assume a new post of managing director.
Mr Macphie will continue to oversee the Glenbervie Estate and Farm where the wind farm will be based.
Glenbervie Wind has the same family shareholders as Macphie of Glenbervie. The family said the development reflects its commitment to sustainable income streams from its estate and its ambition to "future-proof" its activities.
Macphie's is not the first Scottish food manufacturer to diversify into wind power. Ice cream maker Mackie's first wind turbine was installed in 2005, with two more added in 2007. It sells its excess energy to supplier Good Energy.
Macphie of Glenbervie's 250 workers make sauces, fruit coulis for desserts, bakery mixes and icings at sites in Stonehaven and Uddingston in South Lanarkshire.
The business, which has a turnover of around £42.5m a year, posted a pre-tax profit of £2.1m for the 12 months to the end of March, down 6.6% on the previous year due to increased pension costs.
Macphie's has previously spent £1.6m on a biomass system to reduce its carbon emissions.
The company was founded in its present form in 1928 when Alistair Macphie opened a small wholesale bakery business in Glasgow.
It is now under the control of its third generation and it sells goods as far afield as the Middle East.
Macphie's has previously sought to drive revenues through activities outside its core business such as through running research projects with universities.
Bank of Scotland relationship director, Mark Hull, said: "Macphie has been a champion of green energy for a number of years and it is wonderful to help the company deliver on its latest ambition.
"The sustainable and environmentally responsible attitude the company takes to food production is an excellent example of corporate responsibility and the rewards it can reap if executed effectively.
"We are looking forward to seeing the new turbines in operation."