Business is swinging along nicely

Sutcliffe Play has held its first AGM since becoming employee-owned.
Sutcliffe Play has held its first AGM since becoming employee-owned.

AN UPTON business has held its first annual general meeting (AGM) since becoming employee-owned.

Sutcliffe Play, on Waggon Lane, became the first employee-owned playground equipment manufacturer when ownership was handed over by chairman Robin Sutcliffe in a £1.3m deal last April.

The first AGM since then, which was held at Upton Primary School, showed that the business has achieved the highest level of profit and turnover in its history, with a rise in turnover of more than 30 per cent to £11.5m and a rise in profit of more than 40 per cent to £440,000.

The company was recently ranked as the 34th fastest growing company in the Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards.

Managing director Viv Jebson said: “The excellent results are due to everyone’s hard work within the company and an exceptionally buoyant UK market, fuelled by the previous government‘s Playbuilder and Pathfinder funding.

“We capitalised well on the funding source and secured our place as a company that is recognised as a creative and innovative market leader. With the future of government play funding uncertain we have been working hard to further develop our expertise in other markets. In particular our export business grew 30 per cent to more than £1.7m, with new relationships in the Middle East and Far East playing a key role in this growth.

“Looking forward there is no doubt that with UK Local Authority spending cuts, the future will be challenging. However, with creativity and innovation at the core of all we do we are ready to face these challenges head on.”

A raffle was held to raise funds for the Japanese Red Cross following the earthquake and tsunami. Sutcliffe Play, which works with distributors in Japan, has donated more than £700 to support the repair work.