Walsall-based Albert Jagger decides to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability  

January 27, 2017

jagger_logoWalsall-based Albert Jagger is a large manufacturer and suppliers to the commercial vehicle bodybuilder, boat builder, agricultural and engineering industries in the UK.

It has consolidated its supply chain by acquiring Prestwood Engineering. one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. Prestwood employees are being retained and will join the100-strong workforce at Albert Jagger.

Prestwood, also based in Walsall, is one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. It specialises in low and medium volumes for the spare parts and after-market industries, supplying countries worldwide.


Corporate finance partner Andy Kay said: “The strategic thinking behind the deal was to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability and was the result of a strategic review of the business we conducted with the directors.” Mr Kay was supported on the deal by CCW partner Johnathan Dudley and corporate finance manager Chasz Coulsting, who said:

“Albert Jagger have taken a long hard look at the events of 2016 and made the decision to bring some of their manufacturing closer to home. Prestwood Engineering was an ideal fit and provides both increased and varied capacity as well as economies of scale and distance.”

Thermotec news

December 12, 2016


Thermotec Plastics, based  in Electra Park, Witton, is a Birmingham-based plastic and composites manufacturer, ‘bespoke supplier’ of engineered solutions in vacuum forming/thermoforming, polyurethane mouldings and super lightweight composites, working in several sectors including luxury automotive, off-highway vehicles, aerospace and defence.

PRW, the leading trade magazine serving the UK polymer industry, reported last year that Thermotec had received major funding to help support its plans to develop and expand the business. The group received funding approval from Birmingham City Council from the Greenbridge Supply Chain Programme for SMEs which can give grants for business support packages, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Thermotec’s managing director David Rose said the funding would allow the business to target more business and recruit up to 11 new staff, to join the current workforce of 50 employees, adding:

thermotec-machine“Receiving this funding from The Greenbridge Programme, combined with our own investment will allow us to put automated processes in place that not only increase productivity, but allow us to improve the environmental impact of our activities”. In April 2016 Thermotec announced the addition of a seventh Vacuum Forming Machine to  to support increased demand and new contracts.

crank-trayIn May Thermotec introduced a new crank tray for Jaguar Land Rover From paper concept to product was a 10 week process; and the timeframe for changes could be shortened to 5 Weeks. The whole project, from design to tooling and manufacturing has been done within a 50 mile radius in the Midlands.  

In addition to the new recruits it is aiming to hire, Thermotec has taken steps to upskill its existing workforce with the help of Made in the Midlands members InTraining – a process about which no information has yet been found.




Will the new business tax accounting system for SMEs be more onerous and expensive?

November 19, 2016


Earlier this month Marco Forgione and other people running small and medium-sized businesses wrote to the Financial Times about a ‘flawed’ government consultation on significant changes to business tax reporting:

In just over a year’s time all businesses will be required to file accounts digitally five times a year (every quarter plus an annual final trading statement).

The government’s website on its proposals, Making Tax Digital, is worded positively:


The writers’ comment:

“For the first time in the UK’s history the government will prescribe the way in which all businesses file their accounts, using government approved software. This will require many micro, small and medium-sized businesses to invest in new accounting systems”.




Meriden-based StadiArena’s project in Ahmedabad

October 22, 2016

stadiarena-logoStadiArena’s unique technology was developed by StadiArena founder, managing partner, accountant and former professional footballer Paul Fletcher (below right) in 2004, before he set up the business in 2007.  It enables an outdoor sports stadium to be converted into a 47,000sq ft, 4,000 capacity, pillar-less, multi-purpose indoor arena that can host sports, concerts, exhibitions, conferences, trade shows and other events. This happens at the touch of a button; in six minutes, a partition wall is activated and the first 16 rows of seats are retracted, creating a covered space which can be used for exhibitions, concerts, conferences, film screenings, indoor sports and receptions.

stadi-paul-fletcherStadiArena’s website adds that the system incorporates a hurricane-proof, hoist fabric door, now known as a StadiDoor – a form of which is currently used across the world. Once closed (within 6 minutes), this specialised, lightweight door transforms a stand into a fully enclosed permanent arena environment, creating a venue for numerous sporting and cultural events, increasing the usability and financial viability of the stadium. By simply retracting the door (within 6 minutes), the stadium returns to its core sporting use.

The StadiArena system means that irrespective of the stadium’s core sport, it can generate income that isn’t linked to a particular team’s performance and deliver valuable ‘legacy’ and community facilities. 

In 2014, Business Desk reported, “StadiArena is helping with the construction of the world’s first purpose-built, indoor/ outdoor 25,000 capacity stadium”. It had won a £4m contract to work on the project in the Gujarat province of India in 2009 after the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister of India, championed the project. Work had begun in spring, with the installation of the structure’s steel frame.


And Business Desk, reporting on the opening of the stadium, notes that this concludes seven years of work, which began with signing a multiple licence agreement with TransStadia. It quotes the words of Ian Stokes, managing director of StadiArena, “It’s taken a long time but we are absolutely thrilled that the Ahmedabad stadium is now open and hosting its first major sporting event. At 47,000sq ft, it is the largest open space arena in India and will also become the best football stadium in India”.

StadiArena’s press release relates that on Friday 7th October 2016, the Ahmedabad stadium officially opened and hosted the Kabbadi World Cup (7th-22nd Oct), broadcast by Star Sports to 125 countries.




People from these countries visited the site this week

October 19, 2016



A project which aims to encourage UK businesses to source locally

October 1, 2016


In April this year the press reported that after three years of trial and research, Glastonbury Festival launched a sustainable, recycled stainless steel pint cup for use on a major scale at this year’s event will only have been missed by those who don’t read newspapers or scan Twitter.

At least one of our readers will have enjoyed a pint from one of those stainless steel pint pots manufactured by APS of Great Hampton Street, Hockley. 


APS Metal Pressings Ltd, located at the Birmingham end of Hockley Flyover, has its own in-house fleet of trucks to ensure deliveries of pressed products, stampings and welded assemblies directly to mainland UK based customers, on time, every time. Established in 1970, the company supplies many industries, including the automotive, construction, mining and DIY sectors.

aps-potFor the Festival, the question of how to reduce the amount of waste – in particular pint beer cups – has always been a challenging one, according to its founder Michael Eavis. The stainless pints are made of food grade 80% recycled British stainless steel. When Festival-goers need a refill, they will be able to exchange their cup for a fresh one. Over 200,000 cups were in circulation in ten major bars across the site, with customers paying a £5 deposit when they bought their first pint.

The Festival’s Green Initiatives and Sustainability Coordinator Lucy Smith said, “For us, it’s part of the reusable revolution. It’s very similar to paying 5p for a carrier bag. We think people will take to it. The pints are made in Birmingham and it was a significant part of the project to have them made with British stainless steel.”

Michael Eavis hopes that the project will encourage other UK businesses to think about how they can support our steel industry during these very challenging times.

He said: “For me, the single most important thing was being able to source British stainless steel for the cups from the place where it was invented – Sheffield, and then to take it on to the home of manufacture – Birmingham. Week after week, there’s a story in the national press about jobs in the UK steel industry being put at risk. There’s seemingly no end to the negative slide of this critical industry, and if the jobs, skills and infrastructure are lost they won’t be replaced.”




Webster and Horsfall of Hay Mills: on the Times’ SME 2016 FastTrack list

September 14, 2016



Part of the FastTrack citation included this paragraph: “Founded in 1720, this family firm works with Birmingham University to develop its wire technologies for customers in the oil, gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries. Led by chairman Charles Horsfall, 60, it lifted overseas sales to £2.4m in 2015, through online marketing and trade shows”.

Our 2014 history of this company which took us up to 1945, omitted news of its nineteenth century innovations – under Joseph Webster –  in the manufacture of music wire in the first half of the century which led to dramatic improvements in the quality of the sound produced by the concert piano of the age allowing the virtuosity of pianists such as Chopin and Liszt to attain even greater heights

In its account of the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable there was no record that an earlier attempt to lay the cable had failed due to the inferior wire used in its construction, and that Webster and Horsfall was ‘the only company in existence’ able to manufacture wire of sufficient quality to ensure the success of the cable (1866). The Hay Mills Foundation Trust* has, within the archives, a complete record of the company’s part in the enterprise.

A post-war update is provided by the 2007 Telegraph obituary of its chairman, Col. John Coldwell-Horsfall

Following an extensive account of his military career, we read: “In 1946 Horsfall returned to England to take over the running of the family firm, Webster and Horsfall of Hay Mills, Birmingham. The firm, a manufacturer of Atlantic cable, mining ropes and many types of industrial wire, was in severe difficulties at a time of rising post-war demand. Horsfall immediately embarked on a programme of modernisation, scrapping old plant, reducing overmanning whilst maintaining good relations with the trades unions, and taking no salary himself until the firm was back in profit and had cleared its debts. It was back in profit by the end of the year, and by 1966 was enjoying the prosperity it had had in its heyday under his father”.

Proposals to help safeguard jobs within the company, as well as regenerate one of the most deprived areas of the city

In 2014 we reported that work was now underway to redevelop their ten acre Tyseley site as an industrial park with industrial, storage and distribution space. The buildings of architectural interest on the factory site, including the former workers’ housing on the Fordrough and a former schoolroom, will not be affected by the redevelopment proposals. Charles Horsfall, chairman of Webster & Horsfall, believes the proposals will help safeguard jobs within the company, as well as regenerate one of the most deprived areas of the city: “The development of our Tyseley site will generate an income stream from our surplus land to help us do this”.

*The Hay Mills Foundation Trust

webster-hay_mills_school_room_birminghamThe three hundred year history of manufacturing steel wire and wire rope in Birmingham and the histories of the people who worked here is being brought to life at Hay Mills.

Working with the archives of Webster and Horsfall, Birmingham’s oldest manufacturing business, in James Webster’s schoolroom (right) volunteers are delving into employment records and the worlds of music, transport, armaments, telecommunications, mining, oil, food production and health showing how the developments and inventions created here have been at the centre of some of significant and historic industrial events over the last three centuries.

The chairman said: “Our goal is to reach our 300th anniversary, in 2020, fighting fit” –  and it is possible that, with over 114 employees, this British SME with its fast-growing international sales will one day be too large to qualify for that title and so for this website.


For more historical information, go to http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/lists/GB-800819-Webster.htm