SME Loans

West Yorkshire-based cosmetics company lays foundation for growth

A West Yorkshire-based supplier of cosmetics for some of the UK and Europe’s largest retailers is preparing for a new makeover after receiving £400k funding from the Enterprise Ventures SME Loans Fund.

The investment will be used to develop its already impressive customer base, whilst continuing its expansion into territories outside of Europe.

Retra Holdings Limited is a tertiary branded cosmetics company that manufactures year-round and seasonal gift cosmetics, supplying a variety of blue-chip customers, both in the UK and mainland Europe.

Since 2006, when Retra Holdings acquired Badgequo Limited, a well-established cosmetics supplier with over 30 years of trading history, the customer base has grown from 70 to 300 clients, with the company reporting consistently high levels of repeat business and significant sales growth.

The Enterprise Ventures SME Loans Fund was launched in June 2015 and provides loan capital to established and growing SMEs nationally, but with a particular focus on the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside. At launch, the fund received £40million of investment from Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Santander UK plc.

Kai Arter, Managing Director of Retra Holdings, said:

“We are pleased that Enterprise Ventures shares our strategy for the next stage in the development of the business. We have seen significant growth, particularly in the last two years, and this is set to continue. By targeting new geographical markets outside of Europe and developing our key brands globally, we plan to grow the business even further.”

Jonathan Craig, Investment Manager at Enterprise Ventures, said:

“It has been wonderful to see Retra build out its operations, not only in the UK, but also across Europe, with some of the largest retailers as its customers. Now, as the company sets its sights on new markets outside of Europe, we feel confident that it will be able to effectively expand into additional, fast growing markets.”

Armstrong Watson in Leeds introduced Enterprise Ventures to Retra Holdings, and acted as Lead Adviser to the company. Phil Bailey of Armstrong Watson said:

“We have acted for Kai and Linda Arter for over 10 years since they first acquired Badgequo. It is a pleasure to work with such a well-managed and innovative company and to see it achieve success in international markets.”