BGF invests £2.8m in Arran Aromatics to support new growth strategy

Arran Aromatics, Scotland’s leading manufacturer of luxury toiletries, lifestyle products and gifts, can work towards realising its potential thanks to a £2.8m growth capital investment from Business Growth Fund (BGF). This is BGF’s sixth investment in Scotland bringing its current Scottish investment total to £26.9m

BGF, the independent company established to help the UK’s growing businesses, has been working with Arran Aromatics for several months with a view to accelerating its growth plans. This has also resulted in the appointment of a new chairman.
Founded by Janet and Iain Russell in 1988 on the Isle of Arran off the West coast of Scotland, Arran Aromatics has built a brand that is recognised across the world. The performance of the family owned business has fluctuated over the last decade and the company was rescued from the brink of administration in 2009 by independent businessman and turnaround expert, Iain Pittman.
BGF has taken a minority stake and the company has secured international retail stalwart Alastair Kerr as chairman. As a senior independent expert, Alastair brings a wealth of experience as the former head of Body Shop’s European, Middle East and African operations. His non-exec roles include board positions with White Stuff, Fuller Smith & Turner PLC and the Dundee headquartered Alliance Trust PLC. BGF investment director Duncan Macrae will also take a seat on the board.
Arran Aromatics is one of the few remaining toiletries companies in the UK to control every aspect of its products lifecycle; including design, formulation development and retail distribution. Each product is made and hand finished on the Isle of Arran, using the finest ingredients including the islands mineral rich natural water, making each batch subtly different.
The company employs 120 staff and its products are sold in over 30 countries; it is also one of Scotland’s biggest exporters to Saudi Arabia. The company has a portfolio of 10 retail stores (with plans to increase to 14 in the next two years), nine concessions and will launch a new e-commerce website for consumer and trade customers in September. Arran Aromatics also create bespoke products for several hotel groups including Abode Hotels, Macdonald Hotels, Cameron House and the DeVere Group.
Iain Pittman, current chairman of Arran Aromatics, 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. BGF’s growth capital investment will go towards brand development, upgrading our IT infrastructure, investing in our retail estate and allow for a significant investment in our e-commerce capabilities to drive our online business.
“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.”
BGF investment director Duncan Macrae who will be joining Arran Aromatics board, said:
“Iain and the team at Arran Aromatics have done a tremendous job in stabilising the business and positioning it for growth. The company’s heritage, quality product offering and strong work ethic have created a very attractive investment proposition for BGF. The brand has broad consumer and trade appeal with extensive international opportunities and with appropriate investment and support, the company can maximise its inherent potential. The appointment of Alastair to work
alongside Iain and his management team is hugely exciting for all those involved in the business.
“BGF was established to provide long term capital to ambitious UK companies and is currently very active in the Scottish market. We urge other companies wanting to explore their growth potential to come and speak with us.”