Jobs at St Neots factory saved after �1million investment

ONE-hundred-and-fifty jobs have been safe-guarded after a �1million investment in a new St Neots factory.

Anglo ERI Limited went into administration in February, putting 120 permanent and dozens of contract workers at risk of losing their jobs.

But a buy-out by Paul Shand, Matthew Shand and Tony Walker has not only kept the business going but has seen the company moved to a new, larger factory and a further 10 jobs created.

The business, which was in Little End Road, St Neots, manufactured retail shop fittings and interiors, counting brands like Next, Gap and Arcadia among its customers

Mr Walker, a company director, told The Hunts Post: “We already own two other companies which specialise in mannequins and retail fittings and saw this as the perfect investment.”

The partners, who between them have more than 50 years experience in the shop-fittings industry, have invested heavily in the company and believe the new factory, and its location on the old Gates Hydraulics site on Station Road, will ensure the longevity of the business.

“The first stage of the process was to open a 130,000 sq ft factory in St Neots,” Mr Walker said. “It is four times the size of the old one with new machinery, which will lead to better production flow and twice the capacity.”

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The factory has moved all Anglo’s skills – such as metal work, joinery, acrylic and solid surfaces – under one roof and Mr Walker said he expected annual turnover to be in the region of �12million.

“Our first job is to stabilise the company,” he said. “We’re in a recession and the whole of retail has suffered. Next year is going to be a difficult year but it will come back again.

“In the current climate things can disappear and go elsewhere in the country but we are here, in St Neots, and that’s got to be good for the town.”

Company chairman, Paul Shand, added: “We believe the company has what is needed to work through this tough economic environment.

“We have aimed to create a great factory with a good working environment and a highly-skilled, flexible workforce. This business represents everything we wanted to achieve when my father opened Planet Merchandising in the 1960s.

“We are long-term investors who see a great future for this company and the Anglo team.”

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, who will attend the factory’s official opening in late September, told The Hunts Post: “I am delighted at the news that Anglo Interiors, based in St Neots, has received �1million of investment.

“This will safeguard the jobs of over 150 employees and the presence of this major employer in the town. I hope that under new ownership the business will have the best opportunity of success and growth.”