A Plymouth window manufacturing operation and several jobs have been saved by a buy-out after its parent factory ceased trading.
Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) has signed a deal to sell part of its manufacturing business to a company looking to expand and bring more jobs to the city.
The window factory, which was one of the workshops that made up PCH Manufacturing, has changed hands in a move that will save jobs and bring more permanent skilled roles and apprenticeships to Plymouth.
It has been bought by Karsal Manufacturing Ltd, a sister company of Newton Abbot-based Fenster Ltd, which specialises in the production of aluminium windows and the installation of PVC-U windows to new-build developments.
The ambitious, established business is looking to expand and secure its supply chain by increasing its manufacturing capacity in Plymouth.
The deal was struck after PCH announced the closure of its manufacturing unit in May 2020 due, in part, to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on business.
The unit stopped manufacturing earlier in the year putting 52 employees at risk. Many of the staff working at PCH Manufacturing have secured jobs within PCH itself but there were some unavoidable redundancies. Happily, the existing window factory staff who were previously at risk will now transfer to Karsal with the sale.
Gill Martin, director of corporate services and Manufacturing at PCH, said: “We’re delighted that a thriving South West business has seen the potential in the window factory and will be taking over the machinery, premises and, most importantly, the highly skilled and experienced staff working there.
“It’s been a difficult and challenging time saying goodbye to our manufacturing unit but this is something really positive that’s come from a very tough situation. I’m most pleased for the staff, who will TUPE across to Karsal and begin their new working lives today.”
The sale, made for an undisclosed figure, sees Karsal take up a new lease at Plymouth City Council’s Prince Rock depot site.
Cllr Mark Lowry cabinet member for finance at Plymouth City Council, said: “To have played our part in helping to save jobs and introduce a new business into Plymouth has been fantastic.
“We’re excited for the future of Karsal and Fenster in the city and thrilled it will continue the tradition of a local manufacturer making quality products from the Prince Rock depot. And, of course, there’s the prospect of future jobs and skills development for the people of Plymouth, which in the current climate, is very welcome news indeed.”
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Karsal will begin manufacturing PVC-U windows and doors out of the Prince Rock depot from September 15. Tony Drake, Fenster’s managing director, said: “Expanding our business is a move we’ve been looking to make for some time and we’re extremely pleased to have made such a great purchase from PCH. We know the skills and experience we’re buying into – there’s years of manufacturing knowledge among the staff and a history of mass production that we’re extremely excited about. We can’t wait to make our first PVC-U Karsal window in Plymouth.
“We’ve worked very hard as a company to achieve a loyal and established customer-base, and great contacts right across the construction industry, which we’ll be growing in this next stage of our group’s development. In these challenging times for many, we’re proud to be able to provide some hope and opportunity to those looking for work.”
Karsal is planning to create jobs and apprenticeships in Plymouth over the coming months and years as it expands its PVC-U operation.
PCH Manufacturing was the manufacturing arm of social housing provider PCH, and specialised in making PVCu windows, signage and joinery.
When PCH was hived off from Plymouth City Council as a privatised housing provider, PCH Manufacturing became a sister company, having been at one time responsible for making products for the up-keep of council housing.
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