Reprieve for door factory?

Joseph Bulmer

New owners put its closure on hold

The 95 staff at Barnstaple doormakers Leaderflush Shapland were finding out today whether new owners of its parent company were going to give the factory a long-term reprieve.

It was announced in March that work at Leaderflush Shapland would be moved to the Nottingham base of SIG Interiors Manufacturing with only sales staff left in Barnstaple.

But executives of new owners Laidlaw Solutions Ltd were in Barnstaple today carrying out a thorough review of the factory and talking to its staff and management.

Factory workers have already been told that there will be work for them until Christmas and that the factory may have a long term future.

Laidlaw bought SIG on August 1 with backing from leading private equity group Rutland Partners. In a statement, the firm said that the new company would be called Laidlaw Interiors Group and that Laidlaw owner John Jafferies would be the group chief executive officer.

Turnover of the combined companies is put at around �130 million and the purchase means it will become the UK’s leading supplier to the commercial interiors sector with a market leading position in doorsets, ironmongery and partition systems.

The statement said that Rutland and Laidlaw intended to restructure and invest in the acquired businesses to turn around their performance and to build on the strength of the combined brands.

Opportunities for the supply of products between group companies have already been identified.

The Barnstaple factory, formerly Shapland and Petter, has been in Barnstaple since the 1850s.