A MANUFACTURER of plastic films used to cover furniture and uPVC windows saw its revenues rise by 20% last year after bringing in work from its South East base to Northumberland.
However, Cramlington-based Renolit saw its bottom-line profit drop from £7m to £5.5m, and is working to keep hold of that as the home furnishing and building industries continue to founder, despite its income leaping to more than £60m last year.
The company may still have been seeing its revenues rise after it continued to absorb the import work it had taken over from its Bedford distribution centre, but that may exaggerate its success, said managing director Derek Taylorson.
“As we took on the Bedford site’s work over the last couple of years, our revenues have been going up. We did around £38m of business in 2009, and since then it has been rising to around £60m,” he said.
“But that is the only reason our revenues have increased to that level. Our markets have been very difficult the last few years and it has been hard to keep sales coming in. People are not buying as much furniture or getting new windows.
“The reason our profits are going down is because the price of raw materials is going up quite steeply. That is partly the rising price of oil affecting the price of plastics and partly because manufacturers of the materials are raising their prices.”
The company had sold around 70% of its output to Europe, and the euro-crisis had sped up the decline of the market for windows and new furniture.
“It is now about getting our products into new markets so we can keep the business selling the same amounts,” added Taylorson. “We are also looking at finding new uses for the product such as coating cladding for buildings to make it look like wood.
“The market is very difficult and I haven’t seen any hope on the horizon just yet.
“I am hoping we will hold our own next year and move forward.”
The company now employs around 250 staff after taking on 30 workers last year as it took on the work of the Bedford import operation. It has also invested more than £5m in improving the plant in the last couple of years.
Renolit is owned by a Belgian company which is one of the world’s biggest producers of decorative film. Its UK headquarters has been based in Station Road, Cramlington, for 45 years, after 20 years at Willington Quay.