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Turnaround strategy paying off for toilet roll manufacturer
September 21, 2020

Blackburn-based toilet paper manufacturer Accrol reported strong progress in its turnaround strategy today with improved revenues and a reduced level of loss for the year to April 30. Sales rose from £119.11m to £134.73m while the group’s pre-tax loss narrowed from £14m to £1.891m. Today’s announcement revealed the group’s gross margin improvement accelerated, increasing by 49% last year to 21.9% as the business continues its expansion into higher quality and higher value products. Administration costs have already reduced by 43% in past two years, equating to a reduction of around £14.4m. It also announced that all its staff are to be paid no less than the Real Living Wage by the second half of fiscal year 2021, maintaining that “operational efficiency is not driven by low pay in a sustainable business”. Today’s statement said the group is on track to meet market expectations in the current financial year, but the board remains mindful of the continuing risk of operational disruption posed by COVID-19. Executive chairman, Dan Wright, said: “The business has progressed enormously over the last three years. “Despite the many challenges, the management team has simplified the business and created a strong foundation on which to begin the next phase of the group’s development. “I am excited for the future. “The team has the ambition, ability and drive to build a much bigger business, applying Accrol’s philosophies on great products at great value and world-class operational efficiency across a wider product range.” Chief executive, Gareth Jenkins, added: “After joining the organisation, almost three years ago, I reported to shareholders that the core of our business was a good one. “Following the completion of the turnaround, this simplified and strengthened organisation provides a firm base on which to build a business of scale, by expanding in our core markets and diversifying into new personal hygiene and household products. “The opportunities for a relentlessly efficient business, which delivers great-value products, are growing, as the world recalibrates in the aftershock of COVID-19 and consumers move away from brands which offer little value. “Whilst the route to improvement is not consistently upward and in a straight line, I have no doubt that the rewards for shareholders looking at the long term, will be significant.”

New £3m assembly centre will help manufacturer’s export ambitions
September 21, 2020

Rochdale manufacturer Dunphy Combustion is focused on growth with the opening of a new £3m assembly centre. The family-owned business, which specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of combustion equipment and boiler rooms across the world, described construction of the 35,000 sq ft unit as a “landmark day” in its 56-year history. The two-bay industrial unit was built by Heywood-based PLP Construction while the four 60-tonne cranes were supplied by another Rochdale business in Granada Material Handling. Eddie Kuligowski, operations director at Dunphy, said the company had been “bulging at the seams” until construction of the new assembly centre. “Previously we’d had a fabrications centre and assembly area under one roof,” he said. “The R&D facility completed in 2015 has allowed us to expand the bio energy centre side of the business. This new centre will allow us to double our capacity. “Until now we’ve had to turn down work. There’s nothing worse than taking an order and not being able to deliver it, so we turned work down. “Around 50% of our work goes to export and this opens up new markets for us. This is a long-term investment for us. Dunphy employs 110 people and has an annual turnover of £14m. Customers include Shell and Rolls-Royce. The new building is expected to be open in October. Kuligowski said he was delighted to have been able to use two other Rochdale companies in the project. “Like us, PLP Construction and Granada Material Handling are long-established Rochdale businesses.” Laurie Bradley is construction director of PLP Construction, which employs 45 people and has a £15m turnover. He said: “As a local business it’s great to be involved in schemes like this in Rochdale.” Richard Lewis is the sales engineer at Granada Material Handling, which designs, manufactures and installs heavy duty lifting equipment. The company is 40 years old, employs 90 people and has a £20m turnover. He said: “We’ve installed four 60 tonne cranes into the new Dunphy building across two bays. The cranes work in tandem so can lift as much as 120 tonnes. “The cranes were only manufactured a mile away so it’s fantastic that something as impressive as this can be delivered 100% by Rochdale businesses.”

Construction insurance business expands with office openings and recruitment drive
September 15, 2020

          A Warrington-based structural warranty specialist has expanded by opening two new offices, and recruiting eight more staff. Following a Summer of steady business growth, culminating in two record months for sales, Advantage Home Construction Insurance (AHCI) announced its growth plans to manage the significant increase in new business enquiries being received each month. The new offices will be opening in Horsham and Birmingham to accommodate the growing team. The company also signed a long-term deal with an A-rated insurance carrier in August. The company is known for providing latent defects cover for projects ranging in size from individual self-builds to £100m developments, and the deal with new A-rated capacity forms part of the firm’s long-term plans for the sustainable growth of the business. Director of sales, David Sumner, said: “It’s a credit to our hardworking and dedicated team that we’ve not only continued to serve all of our existing clients throughout the pandemic, we’ve also celebrated two record months for sales during a challenging period for all businesses. “Building upon this success, we’ve recruited eight new members of staff to join our sales team, and we’re continuing our recruitment drive. “Opening new offices in Horsham and Birmingham will help to ensure that we have the space we need for the business’s ongoing expansion.” Following a Summer of business growth, Advantage’s directors are poised to take on more new staff throughout Autumn, with demand for structural warranties remaining strong.