Pontardawe eyes £3m turnover after management buy-out
“I honestly believe that although the economy is suffering we can turn the situation into a positive,” Jon Godsall, the new owner of Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant tells RAC.
Having worked in the refrigeration business for almost 30 years from apprentice through to establishing a contracting company installing plant around the country, the opportunity to buy-out Pontardawe was a natural progression for Godsall.
He served his apprenticeship in refrigeration service and installation in the very building some 25 years ago – known then as Kenyon’s – that now houses Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant.
Pontardawe Refrigeration Products - the name of the original company before being renamed - was incorporated in 2002 by Andy Bishop, Nick Rees and Mike Baugh, formerly financial director and now the purchasing manager.
The company grew year-on-year manufacturing mainly scroll compressor packs and quickly established a reputation for quality and reliability. The product range increased over the years and so did the customer base.
In May 2007 times changed, however. The company suffered a £300,000 loss due to the demise of the Auxilia group, one of its largest customers. This loss alone did not put the company’s existence at risk as the directors, staff, and suppliers worked hard to trade through the difficult time.
Yet, in January 2008 news broke of the demise of Denman Contracting and Pontardawe Refrigeration Products suffered a £115,000 loss.
This coupled to a seasonal drop-off in orders left Pontardawe with little option but to enter liquidation in late 2008. It closed a site in Twyning, Gloucestershire and laid-off 35 staff.
Though a testing time, Mr Godsall saw a “new dawn” for Pontardawe – and post-buy-out and based on customer indications of orders to-date totalling £300,000, forecasts turnover of £3.2m for the year ending March 2010.
“Pontardawe has all the necessary ingredients for a successful manufacturing facility,” he says.
He has put some of his personal funds behind the buy-out, together with support from Neath & Port Talbot council, the Welsh Assembly Government, Finance Wales, and the Lloyds Banking Group.
It is set apart from its competitors by employing experienced engineers and consistency in product quality.
Godsall adds: “I believe we have the staff expertise, the facility, the ethos but most importantly the desire to grow into one of the market leaders in the design and manufacture of refrigeration plant.”
From its 17,000 sq ft of manufacturing space and 25,000 sq ft of storage and warehousing Swansea, Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant will add the manufacture of CO2 plant to the production of compressors packs, control panels and condensing units.
Meanwhile, Godsall’s business associates – Deborah Bowen, a business consultant with in-depth knowledge of business structure and financial control; Mike Baugh, with expertise in purchasing and Gari Bevan, production manager – will keep a tight rein on costs.
Jon Godsall is delighted to be in charge of the business’s future. He sees opportunities for growth, not least from the three biding principles he believes any successful business must adhere to: financial control, quality control, and customer service.
Says Godsall: “If we as a business build our procedures and other controls around these three core principles I believe we will build a strong successful business that will be around for a very, very long time.”