ULSTER Carpets are defying the recession, having created 25 new jobs to meet increased demand, particularly in the export market.
The Portadown company also saw turnover rise by 13 per cent to £55 million and operating profit before tax go up 72 per cent to £5 million in the year ending March 31.
There was substantial investment in new export markets and continued long-term development of key markets, particularly the US and Middle East.
Managing director Nick Coburn said the company owed the result to the “outstanding commitment and dedication of its employees”.
He said, “Our sales staff in the export markets have earned us a substantial increase in market share, and to support this our staff in Portadown, England and Denmark have worked incredibly hard to deliver for our customers.
“This performance is all the more remarkable given that we are competing in a global market place against mainly low cost labour production, but our enduring competitiveness keeps us ahead.”
He added, “Unfortunately the shackles of ever-increasing excessive regulation and bureaucracy placed upon businesses continues unabated. This can constrain job and growth prospects but we have adjusted and managed accordingly by simply focusing on the further development and growth of the business through our own endeavours and entrepreneurism.”
Whilst Ulster Carpets re-invests profits for the long-term benefit of the company, 10 per cent of the profits are distributed among employees.
It also has a well-established tradition of helping the local community, and a proportion of annual profits are set aside to assist those striving to make an impact. The company, through the John Wilson Memorial Trust, works closely with Action Mental Health (AMH) in Craigavon, to help facilitate and endorse its work.
Colin Loughran, AMH service manager, said, “Funding has been used to resource our training suite at Tannaghmore Gardens on the outskirts of Lurgan with modern IT equipment and enabled essential polytunnel repairs to be carried out in addition to refurbishment of the glass house ventilation system.
“The trust has also pledged significant funding to AMH MensSana which has secured a full-time staff post for the next two years and enabled planned and necessary work to continue.”
In addition to an annual company pledge, employees also donate and raise funds, via a charity committee, in support of a chosen worthy cause. Ulster Carpet Mill’s two-year charity partnership with Marie Curie has recently come to an end and the latest project is the purchase of a state-of-the-art scanner for the antenatal clinic at Craigavon Hospital.
Said Mr Coburn, “We have always been extremely conscious of our responsibilities at a local level to the communities immediately around us; particularly the long held establishment of significant employment in Portadown, along with other benefits for the local economy.
“As a company we encourage and support our employees to be active with their charitable endeavours and over the years we have raised substantial amounts of money for many worthy causes.”