Manufacturer moves to former KP crisps factory

Feb 10, 2016 | Business

One of the UK’s leading manufacturers and international distributors of bearings, power transmission and motion transfer linkage products is expanding into the North East following a £2.2m investment.

Dunlop BTL, which is based in Ashford, Kent, has been awarded a £250,000 Let’s Grow RGF grant to enable it to expand into the former KP crisps factory in Consett, County Durham, creating around 60 new jobs – 35 of which will be appointed in the short term.

The business, which supplies its products to original equipment manufacturers in the engineering, industrial, automotive and agricultural market sectors and via a network of authorised distributors, also secured a commercial loan from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking to support the purchase of the new premises.

Dunlop, established in 1991, has seen rapid growth in recent years, including significant export growth. Turnover is set to increase by over 50% with a focus on exports which will treble after the expansion.

It plans to see its new premises at No 1 Industrial Estate – the one time home of Phileas Fogg snacks – become its main European manufacturing and distribution centre, producing approximately 50 per cent of its products, while other items are produced in factories from around the world.

The company’s four-year plan will see it grow from 70 to more than 100 jobs with 60 staff being based at Consett by the end of 2019. Its first employee in Consett is Gregg Ringer, of Consett, who has joined the maintenance team looking after the buildings and gardens.

Ray Mifsud, managing director, said: “Dunlop BTL Ltd is proud to be a UK manufacturer supplying to some of the world’s most prestigious original equipment manufacturers.

“The grant has enabled us to move to a new level within our industry and we’re now ideally placed to increase our manufacturing capabilities and expand our customer base, not just in the UK, but around the world.

“Our building purchase gives much needed space from which to grow. We can add to our skill set by employing local people and expanding our knowledge. With a globally recognised brand name such as Dunlop the opportunities facing our company are endless.”

Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, worked closely with Dunlop, visiting it in Kent to help it put together its grant application. It looks forward to working with it to help it recruit skilled staff and introduce it to local supply chains and other significant organisations.

Peter Rippingale, inward investment manager, Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted to welcome such a forward looking member of the engineering and automotive supply chain to the North East. We’ve long thought that there are significant opportunities in the North for companies in this sector and Dunlop BTL’s decision bears this out. The move will provide logistical advantages and proximity to some of its key customers. Dunlop BTL has been a pleasure to work with and I am sure that it will continue to thrive.”

Simon Allen, Let’s Grow project manager at BE Group said “We’re very pleased to be supporting Dunlop BTL to bring much needed, skilled engineering jobs to Consett. The Let’s Grow grant is helping to de-risk the significant investment being made by Dunlop BTL and is fundamental to the company’s decision to expand its operation into the North East.”

Steve Sadler, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “We’re committed to helping local businesses to thrive, and it was clear that this investment was fundamental to help Dunlop BTL fulfil its ambitions for growth.

“This is an investment which will directly help to create local jobs for skilled tradespeople, and we look forward to working with the firm’s management as they move onto the next stage of their growth plans.”

Richard Scott, partner at Sanderson Weatherall, appointed to sell the building on behalf KP, said:

“It’s great to see the building being bought by a business looking to create valuable new jobs for the area.”

Neville Bearpark, partner at UNW, added: “It’s testament to the excellent facilities and funding packages that we have, that has attracted a company such as this.”

Pic cap: Business Durham’s inward investment manager Peter Rippingale and Dunlop BTL MD, Ray Mifsud at the new premises in Consett.