Quick facts

Returning borrower with 5 FundingKnight loans under their belt

Loan amounts: From £25,000 to £810,000

Business: Marine services

Location: Cardiff bay

Purposes: To provide extra services, purchase new equipment and purchase new property  

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Cardiff Marine Group

Wales is home to some of the most beautiful harbours in the UK. Cardiff marina is situated in Cardiff Bay alongside a commercial port, perfectly positioned to provide safe and secure moorings for motorboats and yachts. However a few years ago it was still a small operation suffering from underinvestment and the effects of the recession.

Cardiff Marine Group’s vision was to create a better quality of experience for users of the marina by offering all the services required by owners close to where they kept their boats: maintenance, engine services, boat brokerage, chandlery, training and insurance would be available either through Cardiff Marine itself or through companies based on-site in the Marine Village business park.

Bucking the trend

Cardiff’s existing moorings were fully utilised and new on-land berthing provided a safe, secure and cost-effective way to meet demand for extra capacity. Fuelling capacity, hard storage and dry stacks were also added, along with new boat moving technology and infrastructure improvements.

Improvement work began in 2008, at the height of the recession, but despite the sober economic atmosphere the developments proved popular with customers, tenants and locals.

A successful model

Further along the coast is Aberystwyth, a popular destination for tourists from all over the UK. But it was suffering from the same lack of investment that Cardiff had years before. Cardiff Marine saw an opportunity to use their proven business model to expand. Aberystwyth marina was finally purchased in September 2015.

Cardiff Marine plans to upgrade Aberystwyth Marina with a number of phased investments, including dredging the marina and new pontoon configurations. To help with the upgrades, Cardiff Marine has also been awarded £300,000 by the Coastal Communities Fund.

“We strongly believe in the potential of the marina, which we consider to offer great opportunities for growth,” said Christopher Odling-Smee, Director at Cardiff Marine.

Cardiff Marine is now part of The Marine Group alongside sister companies Swansea Marine Group, CMG Power and Bayscape Ltd. As the Group expands they will continue to look for marina investment opportunities, where their existing infrastructure will enable them to offer benefits of expertise and sharing of services between sites.

Support along the way

FundingKnight have supported Cardiff Marine since 2012 with a series of five business loans. These have been used to pay for a range of development work such as increased berthing, and more recently to help with the costs of acquiring Aberystwyth.

Short-term loans from FundingKnight were acquired to assist with acquisition costs such as professional fees and due diligence. Since then a grant from the coastal community fund has been awarded and this, together with a fifth loan from FundingKnight, will be used to begin vital work such as dredging the marina and increase the number of berths from 120 to 182.

The Marine Group is pleased with their experiences with FundingKnight so far, and fully expects to return in future for subsequent funding.

“We are a progressive company,” Mr Odling-Smee commented. “We like peer-to-peer lending as an alternative to the banks for some of our projects. FundingKnight’s approach to Responsive Lending is a delight. They understand my business, they are enthusiastic about it and they think we’re great.

“We are currently working on some major capital projects and a very large property development. We have some very exciting years ahead of us and we will always consider using FundingKnight as an integral part of the blend.”

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