Cornwall Group has secured £20million of funding to invest in new property and machinery, specialist fleet vehicles and other new equipment over the next two years.
“We have always invested in bricks and mortar, and we are confident that this approach is the best way to continue building a business that is fit for the next generation of glass professionals,” group chairman Mark Mitchell explained.
“We’ve worked with our bank for 25 years, and we know that this model of investment for us works and is sustainable over a tried and tested period.”
The chairman of the group, which includes Cornwall Glass Manufacturing, Mackenzie Glass, and commercial glazing and retail arm Cornwall Glass & Glazing, added that other finance options are typically short-term models of investment, which don’t currently complement Cornwall Group’s own long-term view of the industry.
“We’ve seen a huge influx of private equity in recent years, as investors targeted the UK glass market as a safe bet financially,” he continued. “Now that returns are narrowing, will they try to fatten those companies up for sale, or even look to float them on the AIM?
“We, on the other hand, plough our profits back into the business, into people, machinery and buildings. We’ve got a very simple shareholder model, and we want to continue to grow a sustainable business, not one driven by short-term growth.
Recent investment includes: a new fire saw, cutting line, and bevelling and processing equipment at Mackenzies; a new heat soak oven at the company’s site in Plymouth, which can handle large units up to 4.2m x 2.7m; and a new £1.5m Bystronic Sealed Unit Line at its St Austell site, which replaces a similar line that was installed 20 years ago.
Mark concluded: “We have a rolling ten-year plan; we are not driven by short term gain, like many private equity firms, so we have more money to invest back in the business. But this means always looking one step ahead to make sure that next piece of machinery or strategic investment is the right one.