Furniture company brings production back to North Staffordshire
A FURNITURE company is to bring production back home to North Staffordshire – six years after moving its manufacturing operations to Italy.
Talke-based CAEM, which supplies modular shelving units to major retailers, saw its turnover grow to almost £14 million last year.
Now the firm hopes to win more trade and create at least 18 new jobs through the relocation.
Business leaders today heralded the announcement as a sign of 'increasing confidence' in the local economy and private sector jobs.
Jane Gratton, deputy chief executive of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Many firms are now bringing back production to this area, where our firms are well managed, skilled and poised to take advantage of the economic upturn when it arrives."
Back in 2007, CAEM decided to move production to its parent company in Italy, which had just opened a new plant to mark its 50th anniversary.
But managing director Chris Prendaglia said: "In the last five years, a lot has happened in terms of the Eurozone economy and exchange rates.
"It's an advantage to the UK that we are now able to complement Italy in manufacturing a competitive offer into the market.
"It's very good news for the people we employ and the people we will be employing.
"We've done all the costing and already had the thumbs-up for the quality of product we can manufacture here, so now it is just going over the finer details."
CAEM, which currently has 42 staff, is already supplying goods to Turkey, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
Mr Prendaglia added: "Having production here in Staffordshire will make a huge difference to us and, this time around, we will move into supplying Europe.
"We've also got a contract in Dubai. We are talking to people globally."
The company believes being able to diversify from supplying shop fitters to working with major retailers has helped it to beat the recession.
CAEM is halfway through a two-year deal with international health, beauty and lifestyle retailer AS Watson, which owns Superdrug and Savers.
Paul Williams, head of the business school at Staffordshire University, also welcomed the company's plans.
He said: "The news that CAEM is returning part of its production back to Talke provides further evidence of North Staffordshire's competitiveness in an increasingly difficult European business environment."
CAEM has grown year-on-year, seeing sales top £13.9 million in 2012, compared to a turnover of £6.6 million five years ago.