Plowden & Thompson of Stourbridge: employees secure and investment guaranteed

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The glass industry is in the West Midlands limelight today, as judging takes place in Stourbridge on the final day of the International Festival Of Glass – and the British Glass Biennale runs until 15th September 2012.

In July, one exhibitor, Plowden and Thompson, rejected a bid from a Chinese company for a deal with its customer, ET Enterprises Ltd (ETEL), Uxbridge, which has agreed to safeguard the future of the workers at the 18th century Dial Glass Works.

Plowden and Thompson operate from a cone-shaped building used for glass manufacture since 1788, making specialist glass products, including small tubes for chemistry labs and blood treatment, tail lights for jet planes and runway lights. In a separate division cut crystal is manufactured and recently replicas of the glasses used on the Titanic were made for the Julian Fellowes TV series.

The Express & Star reports that the sale follows the decision by long-standing directors Richard and Barbara Beadman (above, with legal adviser David Ellis), who are to stay on for a time as consultants and retire in about a year’s time. Barbara Beadman said: “We’ve been through some very difficult times recently and really needed more investment to keep everything moving forward. It’s an expensive industry and our gas bill alone averages £10,000 a month. The additional investment will initially bring a handful of jobs but, eventually, there could be more and who knows how many.”

Expanding the skill and product base  base

The new owners want to further develop manufacture of high tech glass and continue to produce traditional stemware, decorative lead crystal and coloured glass. Mrs Beadman added: “Some new equipment will be coming in and we will probably be having some new people with new training, so it will expand the skill base and the product base.”

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