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Coatings firm sticks to Runcorn roots

30th May 2012

One of the world's largest coatings manufacturers is moving to a new headquarters in Runcorn after securing a £2 million loan from Yorkshire Bank.

Whitford manufactures and sells to more than 100 countries and has over 80 offices around the world, with its European headquarters in Cheshire.

The business has been based in Manor Park since 1990 but is expanding to a new four-acre manufacturing plant less than one mile away in Stuart Road. This move increases the office space by 90 per cent, the laboratory space by 90 per cent and the factory space by 70 per cent.

Steve Butler, business partner at Yorkshire Bank in Liverpool, said: "It's great news for the region to keep a company of this size and stature in the area. The variety of sectors Whitford supplies is testament to the flexibility of the product and is one of the main reasons why the business has been so successful. The business is growing day-by-day and we are glad we can support this expansion."

Whitford posted a turnover of £19 million in 2011, in comparison to £13 million in 2010, and has ambitious growth targets for future years. There are 79 employees at the current headquarters in Runcorn, and this number will expand to 90 when the business moves into the new facility in August 2012.

David Johnson, European finance manager at Whitford, said: "We have been looking at new facilities for the past two years. We needed to grow to help service an increased demand for our products but wanted to stay within Runcorn. The new plant in Stuart Road is an ideal location for us to continue to expand and service the rest of Europe and further afield."

Whitford covers a variety of different markets, including housewares, automotive, medical and oil and gas. The global headquarters is in Pennsylvania, USA.

One of its biggest turnover markets is housewares, selling non-stick fluoropolymer coatings, a blend of high performance resins and lubricants. One of the most successful products to use Whitford's coatings is the George Foreman Grill, having sold in the region of 100 million units across the globe.

The business is also the world's largest manufacturer of fluoropolymer coatings to the automotive market, with manufacturers such as Audi and Volkswagen using Whitford coatings to avoid problems arising from abrasion, corrosion and noise.

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