Royal recognition for Lancashire firms

Several companies from across Lancashire have been recognised with the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Blackpool-based Chelsom designs and manufactures decorative lighting for the global hotel and marine industries. The company's customers include Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 

Exporting to more than 70 countries, overseas sales now account for 58 per cent of all the company's sales.  Achieving 59 per cent growth in international sales over the last three years earned the company the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

Robert Chelsom, chairman, said: "I am extremely proud that Chelsom has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for the second time in three years.

"We are honoured to receive this award on the back of 2019, our most successful year to date, as it acknowledges the hard work, dedication and passion that every employee has shown in helping to drive the business forward internationally."

Leyland Trucks also won its award in recognition of its export success. Operating from one of Europe’s most advanced truck assembly facilities in the heart of Lancashire, the firm now exports more than 7,500 trucks through its sister company DAF. Overseas sales grew by almost 50 per cent over the previous three years. 

Brennan Gourdie, managing director at Leyland Trucks, said: "Our reputation as an outstanding truck manufacturer, not just in the UK but around the world, is led by the passion of our great employees and of the exceptional DAF distribution network. Without them, we couldn’t have achieved our exporting success and this award reflects their commitment, talent and hard work.”

Blackburn-based Simply Doughnuts received its Award for Innovation on the basis of its efforts to develop products with an exceptionally long shelf-life. Its unique manufacturing processes enable its foods to stay fresh for much longer than competing products, extending shelf-lives from the usual two days to between 27 and 30 days.

This longevity greatly reduces waste, not only in terms of the food itself but also in terms of packaging, energy and road miles. This will have been a significant factor in the judging process; the application guidance placed considerable emphasis on sustainability, responsible production and reducing global food waste.

Shiraz Master, managing director, said: "Getting here has taken literally years of effort – lots of testing, research and refinement – plus a massive contribution from the whole team. But it has all been worth it. All that work has produced a hugely successful range of products. They save waste, they minimise risks to retailers and, on top of everything, they’ve enabled us to win the most prestigious business award in the whole of the UK."

Preston's Evans Vanodine International, Accrington's FPW Axles and Premier Tooling Systems, Bacup's Orthoplastics, Whitworth's Slingco, Lancaster's Standfast and Barracks were all recognised for international trade.

Evans Vanodine manufactures cleaning and hygiene chemicals in the UK and in four other international locations, exporting to 86 countries. Overseas sales have grown by 49 per cent over the three year application period and the proportion of sales exported has increased to 39 per cent of total sales.

FPW Axels specialises in the design and manufacture of steer, drive and drive/steer axels for every application of special purpose vehicles. The company exports widely including to European, Middle East and Africa, the Americas and Asia. Recently the company has entered Germany and its focus for 2019 has been China. Overseas sales  have grown by 69 per cent across the last three years.

Premier Tooling Systems is a precision engineering specialist, supplying quality tooling design and manufacture to a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive, defence, healthcare and packaging. The company demonstrated steep year on year growth in overseas sales rising by 195 per cent overall during the three year period.

Orthoplastic produces implantable Ultra High Molecular Weight products for the medical market. The company now supplies semi-finished orthopaedic devices to over 350 global OEMs. Its main current markets are USA, Ireland, Puerto Rico and China and the company entered new markets in India, China, Turkey and Brazil over the last three years, which helped overseas sales grow by 99 per cent.

Slingco supplies products that make installation and support of industrial electrical conductor, cable and hose, easier and safer. Markets include energy, transmission and distribution, oil and gas, renewables and transport. The company exports to 75 countries, with the USA its largest export market. Overseas sales have grown by 178 per cent over the last three years.

Standfast and Barracks offers traditional rotary, flatbed and screen-printing techniques, alongside digital ink jet technology. The firm specialises in digital fabric printing, across both the interiors and fashion/apparel industries, supplying textile converters in the largest global markets of USA and Europe. The company now sells to eight of the top ten US textile convertors and has targeted New Zealand, South Africa, Korea and Spain. Overseas sales have grown by 69 per cent over the previous three years.

Steve Fogg, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "The Queen's Awards are given for the highest degrees of excellence and are one of the most prestigious awards given to businesses. It is wonderful that a record-breaking eight Lancashire-based businesses have received the award this year.

"To win such an award is an outstanding achievement and a testament to the calibre of businesses we have in Lancashire. This is welcome news for the county and I would like to wish them every success for the future."

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