After two traumatic years, things are finally looking up at Sir Anthony Bamford’s JCB.
An uplift in the firm’s overseas markets, increased market share and increased profits mean that JCB has cause for optimism as it celebrates its 65th birthday – an optimism backed up by the fact that the firm continues with heavy investment for the future and is once again hiring people as production recovers.
The firm was recently boosted by an order for 236 diggers for the British Army.
In 2009 profits increased by a million pounds to £29 million. That’s still well short of the £187 million the company made in 2007, but it’s a step in the right direction, despite lower sales revenue. At the same time the firm has taken on 450 people and is planning to hire another 50 engineers.
The company – the world’s third largest construction equipment brand – grabbed a record-breaking 12.2 per cent market share – but still predicts it will take five years to recover its 2007 position.
The decline in sales in the global construction equipment market had an inevitable effect on the value of the company, but Sir Anthony Bamford is optimistic about the future, citing a return to growth in emerging markets.
With a robustness shown by Sir Anthony’s father and company founder Joe Bamford, investment in JCB’s future continues apace.
The new Heavy Products factory in Uttoxeter – a 450,000 sq ft facility with the capability to build 8,000 machines a year – is in full swing and a new factory in Brazil producing excavators is well-advanced, as is a £20 million investment in a new generation of the iconic JCB backhoe loader, and production of a new eco-range of diggers which give operators massive fuel savings.
And the first 120 students have been enrolled in the £22 million JCB Academy. Based in the Grade II listed Tutbury Mill in Rocester, the academy – a project of prime importance for Sir Anthony – will train the engineers of the future.
The company has also been celebrating one of its largest ever contracts, with an order for 94 industrial forklift trucks from its materials handling fleet provider, Barloworld Handling.
JCB continued to help with disaster relief across the globe, and played a part in the Pakistan flood relief efforts and the epic rescue of 33 Chilean miners.
Sir Anthony and his wife Lady Carole Bamford have homes in Chelsea, Barbados and France and a 1,500 acre estate near Stow-on-the Wold where Lady Bamford also runs Daylesford Organics.
The ex-air hostess founded the company eight years ago and it is now one of the country’s largest working organic farms, with a long list of celebrity customers. The new managing director of Daylesford Organics, Jamie Mitchell, is forecasting a surge in growth and has plans to triple Daylesford’s £10 million turnover. The company has agreed to supply food delivery firm Ocado, and has opened a store and café in Munich.
She also has shops in Pimlico, Notting Hill and Gloucestershire, and a fashion business – Bamford & Sons. The Bamfords also own the 3,000 acre Wootton estate in Staffordshire.
The Bamford’s road to billionairedom began in 1945 when Joseph Cyril Bamford built his first farm trailer in a small garage in Rocester. Now it sells more than 300 different products in 150 countries worldwide.
In November Sir Anthony was appointed as a business ambassador by Prime Minister David Cameron.