Hille has relocated its metal working, epoxy coating and assembly facility from Burnley in the north East of England to join its moulding division in a 41,000 sq ft factory in Rassau Industrial Estate, where it is expecting to double its work force. Cooke & Arkwright acted on behalf of the landlord, Gemini Properties UK Ltd in the deal.
The company has indirectly supplied 90% of all stadium seating in the UK, including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Liberty Stadium in Swansea and the stadia at Murrayfield and Twickenham. It also supplies to the public sector such as schools and hospitals, as well as public area seating for the Rail Networks, many of which are being upgraded for the 2012 London Olympics.
Brian Foster, Hille’s Managing Director said, “The amalgamation of the two divisions of Hille in Ebbw Vale means that for the first time in its history, the entire production process is under one roof, providing greater product control and cost savings. The unit we have acquired is a good size and was in very good condition with facilities that very much suit our requirements.”
John Jones of Cooke & Arkwright said interest in the building had been very healthy. “It bucked the trend in the general economic climate to a point where we actually ended up with two local occupiers taking different parts of the unit. The larger deal represented an excellent opportunity for Hille, providing them with control over the whole building, whilst also securing the overriding landlord with a tenant of good strength.”
Hille has teamed up with Birmingham University’s furniture design department, investing £200,000 in a new educational chair project. Its SE Chairs, which have been launched in the education sector, are the ‘best in the market’ according to Mr Foster. “They provide the correct ergonomics for children from the first academic year right up to the sixth form,” he said. “I am pleased to say that despite the current economic conditions, Hille is going from strength to strength. We are recruiting from the local workforce on an ongoing and ‘as required’ basis, and have been very pleased with the quality of applicants to-date.”
Mr Foster said that they were concentrating on the company’s core business, which is to provide well designed and economically priced, quality products. It also sees big potential in replacing stadium seating that are coming to the end of their serviceable lives and is currently exploring the opportunity for a recycling programme to process the old seating of all past installations.
Hille was launched in 1906 and has worked with some of the country’s leading furniture designers, including Robin Day, with whom it produced one of the world’s most iconic designs, the propylene chair. This was featured on one of ten ‘design classics’ stamps issued by the Post Office in January 2009 alongside such icons as the Mini, Concorde and the Telephone Kiosk.