Scotland business

Arran Aromatics secures £2.8m from Business Growth Fund

Arran Aromatics chairman Iain Pittman
Image caption Arran Aromatics chairman Iain Pittman said there was "a new confidence in the business"

Luxury toiletries producer Arran Aromatics is set to expand after securing investment of £2.8m from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The cash will go towards upgrading IT infrastructure, brand development and launching a new e-commerce website.

Arran Aromatics will also use the money to increase its portfolio of 10 retail stores to 14 in the next two years.

BGF is an independent fund, backed by five of the UK's main banking groups, to help Britain's smaller businesses.

Arran Aromatics, which was founded by Janet and Iain Russell in 1988 on the Isle of Arran, has seen its fortunes fluctuate over the past decade.

In 2009, it was rescued from the brink of administration by turnaround expert Iain Pittman.

BGF has now taken a minority stake in the firm, which has announced it is bringing in retail expert Alastair Kerr as chairman.

Mr Kerr is the former head of Body Shop's European, Middle East and African operations.

BGF investment director Duncan Macrae will also take a seat on the board.

Hotel groups

Arran Aromatics' products are made and hand-finished on Arran.

The company employs 120 staff and its products are sold in more than 30 countries.

It counts several hotel groups as customers, including Abode Hotels, Macdonald Hotels, Cameron House and the DeVere Group.

It currently runs 10 retail stores and nine concessions and plans to launch a new e-commerce website for consumer and trade customers in September.

Current chairman Iain Pittman said: "Everyone working at Arran Aromatics is deeply passionate about the brand and incredibly proud of its global recognition.

"After the hard work by all of our employees over the past four years, there is a new confidence in the business."

He added: "The company has enjoyed fantastic support from Highland & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International over the past years and we hope these positive working relationships will continue to support further international growth and help take Arran Aromatics from a £5.2m business to a truly global brand."

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