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Seafood specialist targeting growth

Keltic Seafare, which supplies live shellfish to top hotels and restaurants around the world from Dingwall in northern Scotland, is looking to continued growth in 2013.

Founded 20 years ago, Keltic employs 44 staff and recorded a turnover of £6.3 million in 2012.

It said a £750,000 funding package from HSBC based around invoice financing would support development in key growth markets including France, Spain, and Hong Kong.

International business now accounts for 55% of turnover, but the company is also focused on the UK, where in 2012 it attracted a number of award-winning London restaurants to its hand-dived scallops, native lobster, langoustines, and hand-picked white crab products.

Ben Murray, managing director, said: "We take real pride in supplying fresh and sustainable seafood to some of London's top chefs and the finest restaurants in the world. Our biggest export market is France, we have been doing that for seven years now and there is still growth for us in France. "

He added: "We are looking at very nichey top-end restaurants, hotels and wholesalers, and we have been doing a bit of research and speaking to SDI and Highlands and Islands Enterprise about the potential for us in countries like Switzerland and Austria. We have touched Belgium, and we have got a customer in Norway which we didn't expect – they have their own seafood but at certain times of year they can't get it."

Mr Murray said any growth would be an achievement, against a background of cost pressures such as fuel and insurance.

Mark Tate, head of commercial banking for HSBC in Scotland, said: "The Scottish food and drink sector is going from strength to strength and Keltic Seafare is a shining example of a company which provides a world class product with a world class service, in some cases delivering from sea to plate in 24 hours."

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