Gripple Ltd

Gripple Ltd are a Made in Yorkshire Bronze Member

Industry heavyweight slams 'ludicrous' Brexit uncertainty

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The chairman of an award-winning manufacturer has described the lack of knowledge on Britain’s position following Brexit as “ludicrous” after his business reported a surge in profits and turnover.

Gripple was founded by wire-salesman and entrepreneur Hugh Facey (pictured) in 1985 after he was aggravated by the cumbersome ways of joining fence wires and decided to think up a better way of connecting two pieces of wire together. 

The company, a five-time Queen’s Award recipient and former Made in Sheffield winner, has now posted pre-tax profits of £4m for the year to 31 December 2015, up from £1.1m a year earlier. Turnover also increased to £48.6m from £41.7m.

Facey, who is now chairman of the company which is owned by its employees, said: “If one is honest, we had a poor year in 2014 as we made major investments in 2013/2014. It took quite a long time to come through, so I suppose you could say we were disappointed in 2014 but the investment we made in 2013/14 came through for us in 2015.”

Speaking about the vote to leave the EU in June, Facey said: “We are extremely disappointed about the Brexit decision.”

He added: “For businesses that are manufacturing, we do 40 odd per cent in Europe and it’s just ludicrous that we are put in this position where nobody knows for the next three years what the position is going to be.”

During 2015, Gripple, which is looking to take on 60 to 70 staff this year, grew its operation in Europe, the US, Canada and India.

In addition, the company said its new management structure led by Ed Stubbs has been an “excellent initiative” and giving profit responsibility to the regional management boards has been a positive step.

Facey added: “Ed became managing director at the beginning of 2015. He had been managing director of Loadhog, Gripple’s associate company and he’s doing a very good job.”

Further progress is set to be achieved in 2016, with sales in the first quarter of 2016 expected to be in excess of £13.5m and net profit before tax to hit the £1.7m mark. Gripple also expects total sales for 2016 will exceed £55m.