Green energy demand recession-proofs Scottish forestry company

Green energy demand recession-proofs Scottish forestry company

Scottish forestry company RTS has thrived during the double dip recession thanks to increasing demand for green energy.

Economic Analysis

20 June 2013

Alan Robbins of RTS Forestry

The company has formed a joint venture with another company that provides specialised harvesting vehicles for boggy ground, enabling the clearance of wind farm sites.

The move has enabled RTS’ turnover to grow from £3.5m in 2008 to in excess of £10m in 2011.

The company was established by Managing Director Alan Robbins in 1984 in the dining room of his home in Stirling, initially concentrating on timber harvesting and marketing. But he soon realised that when clients wanted trees felled, they also wanted them replanted, so added that to the RTS portfolio of services.

Buoyant industry

The company has also benefitted from the strength of sterling against other currencies. “At the moment, despite the recession, the timber industry is very buoyant, with high timber prices, which results in lower imports and higher exports,” says Robbins.

Robbins first formed a link with RBS as a student: “I walked into a branch of a well-known high street bank and said: ‘My local authority grant hasn’t come in, can I have a loan?’ They said no. I walked next door to the Royal Bank of Scotland and they said yes. I’ve been with them ever since.”

The relationship with RBS has also progressed steadily through the years, and even though contacts within the bank have changed, Robbins says the company’s current RBS Relationship Manager, Philip Bolland, is “very supportive”.

Through good and bad

Robbins says: “We have the usual commercial banking services with RBS. We negotiate overdraft facilities each year and it’s comforting to know that as our industry does have peaks and troughs, RBS has supported us through good and bad.”

RTS has now moved into new premises, constructed appropriately from Scottish timber and with funding support from RBS, and employs 25 people and a large number of sub-contractors.

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