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Duo celebrate 25th year in business with £1.1m investment spree

Duo UK has marked its 25th year in business with a 12 month investment spree which has seen £1.1m ploughed into new machinery and software. The cash injection comes alongside on-going investment in their 120 employees, as they prepare to enter new markets and reinforce their presence in existing specialisms. 

The bulk of the investment has been made in a £750,000 co-extrusion (co-ex) machine which will help to position Duo at the forefront of polythene manufacturing technology and increases the film manufacturing capacity by 40%.  

Duo's MD, David Brimelow, explains:  "Co-extrusion has better efficiency and higher output than our current machines, so we can produce better quality polythene more quickly. This allows us  to offer a better product to current customers and enter new markets such as the courier sector. Production costs and the environmental impact are also cut thanks to a substantial reduction in energy consumption, increased amounts of recycled content and lower levels of raw materials and waste."

Finance for the deal was raised via the Italian markets which offered surprisingly competitive terms as part of the Italian Government's support of their own manufacturing sector, as Duo UK's finance director, Paul Teasdale, commented: "Investing in the co-ex machine was essential for the next stage of Duo's growth so being able to access foreign capital markets at competitive rates helped speed up the investment process compared to UK alternatives.

"The exact funding method is known as forfaiting, which lends funds to exporters against receivables, backed by an insurance policy covering the risk of failure of the buyer. This spreads the risk for all parties involved and offers a number of advantages - the Italian manufacturer is certain of payment, our UK borrowing capacity is unaffected and, at the time, the outlook for the sterling to euro exchange rate made this a particularly attractive option.  Even with the recent changes to the sterling euro exchange rate, this has proved to be a great alternative to traditional asset financing."   

In addition to the co-extruder, Duo has invested £225,000 in a 6-colour flexographic printing press which offers faster double-sided printing and additional funds in Manufacturing Production Scheduling (MRP) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.  David explained: "This trio of strategic investments gives us a great platform to build on our first quarter of a century in business - they open the door to new markets, allows us to offer new or better products to existing customers and enables us to better integrate our main Manchester operations with our second manufacturing site in Nottingham.

"In 25 years we've grown our turnover to £25m and I'm incredibly proud of what the team has achieved. We are a family business with five Brimelows working for Duo and that ethos is reflected in how we look after our employees, who in turn take great care of our customers and ultimately drive our business.  We are proud of the fact we have employees who have chosen to stay and grow with us from the very beginning.  In addition, one of our apprentices has recently been named Apprentice of the Year and we're offering financial support to another team member to gain degree level qualifications.

"Investing in people, like investing in equipment is, not only the right thing to do - it makes good business sense. This approach, along with the significant investment in the co-ex machine and the ingenious method of funding Paul spearheaded, speaks volumes about our positive, pro-active attitude to strengthening and growing our business whatever the economic climate and despite Government "support" for manufacturing."


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Published: 17/07/2013

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