Forterra spends £ 27 million on high-end brick factory

The investment will increase production capacity by 20%, or 6 million bricks per year, including greater number of the famous blue stones from Staffordshire.

But in the short term the factory will be closed for 9 months in 2022, while a new ovens, dryers and handling equipment are installed.

Forterra also announced plans to close its general precast plant in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, following a review of Bison’s precast business.

The company said: “Significant progress has been made in focusing on value-added products over standard gray concrete, where margins have been under increasing pressure.

“Concentrating on a smaller range of higher quality products will make it necessary to reduce the production capacities and personnel required. So we have now made the decision to close the general precast plant in Swadlincote. “

Production will now be focused on the Somercotes facility in Derbyshire, which aims to produce higher margin modular facade products for the fast growing off-site sector.

This includes both heavy precast concrete such. B. walled concrete sandwich panels as well as the mechanically fastened brick cladding system SureBrick and the glued masonry solution Quickwall.

Announcing the strategic business review and strong first half results, Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive Officer said: “The current strong trading conditions appear to continue into the second half of the year, with our customer base signaling that they expect current demand to continue.

“However, we remain vigilant that the ongoing economic uncertainty related to the longer-term effects of the pandemic, coupled with the short-term effects of the current shortage of manpower, materials and transport across the sector, could potentially affect demand for our products.”

Harrison added that with manufacturing generally at full capacity and inventory levels across the industry at historically low levels, there is little opportunity to significantly increase sales volumes in the short term.

To ease the pressure on deliveries, Foterra recently agreed to buy 20 delivery vehicles after the expiration date.

“With new replacement vehicles arriving now, we can increase our fleet of specialized delivery vehicles with crane equipment to 175, which is a valuable capacity increase once the additional drivers have been hired and trained. ”

Forterra posted a profit of £ 27 million before tax for the first half of the year after a loss of £ 23 million in the same period in 2020. Brick and block revenue is now slightly above 2019 levels, helping to bring sales to 180 Reset millions of pounds.

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