With a growth in exports and imminent move to new premises, it’s clear that Merlin Vet Export is going places.
The Galashiels based business has been exporting veterinary supplies to overseas vets since 2007, with their clients based mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore. This year they are on course to double export sales to £1m.
Managing Director, David Taylor, first approached Business Gateway in 2012 for advice and support on taking the business to the next level, he said:
“Business Gateway has been fantastic. We approached them because although the business was growing, we were keen to properly focus our export strategy and target new markets in the Far East, such as Singapore and South Korea.
“We were referred to the Scottish Enterprise Smart Exporter Programme and as a result of this recently went on a Scottish Development International (SDI) funded trip to a trade fair in Singapore, which meant we were able to establish important links over there.
“Our Business Adviser, Sandra, is a great mentor with a wealth of experience and is always on hand to answer any queries and offer the relevant training.”
Established in 1817, the Merlin Veterinary Group is a practice in the Scottish Borders, with premises in Galashiels, Kelso, Duns and Eyemouth. They began supplying British pharmaceuticals to a single veterinary practice in Hong Kong 7 years ago.
After attracting many more clients in the region, they expanded into Singapore, with orders recently coming in from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany and Kuwait.
“Our clients are attracted by the price and the quality of the pharmaceuticals that we offer. All of the drugs are licensed here in the UK, which ensures that they are safe and that they work – in other countries this is not always the case.
“The Far East, in particular, has an appetite for UK branded products, such as Land Rovers and whisky and this extends to our pharmaceuticals,” said David.
The business currently employs four members of staff, including Niki Kinghorn, who began working as a receptionist in a Merlin veterinary surgery 16 years ago, before working her way up to Deputy Managing Director at Merlin Vet Export
“We have three members of staff in the UK and another out in Hong Kong. As well as being Managing Director, I’m also Dispatch Manager and Head Packer– we all pitch in, plus I’m still a practicing vet,” said David.
“Now that we’re devoting more time to the export side of the business we’re looking for new premises as this will facilitate even further distribution. We’re also working on plans to import drugs from overseas for supply and we’d like to target vets in Southern Ireland and Poland.”
Sandra Campbell, Business Adviser, Business Gateway Scottish Borders, said: “This is a fantastic local business that is having great success oversees. We were able to assist with international strategy, support for fact finding for new markets and information and communications support and we have also signposted other support available and look forward to continuing to work with Merlin Vet Export as the venture grows.”
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