Record year for optimistic Scunthorpe company which suggests many others 'are doing rather well' despite recession
A Scunthorpe based asset management company boss says that although things may be tough, huge swathes of British industry and business are coping astonishingly well during these recessionary times.
The optimistic view comes from Charles Moses, the head of North Lincolnshire-based CJM Asset Management - one of the country’s top ten industrial auctioneering and valuation firms.
In a New Year Review - in which he reports a record year for his company - Mr Moses says that not only have there been fewer company insolvencies than expected over the past 12 months but many firms are actually doing rather well.
Mr Moses said: “There have been relatively few major insolvency instructions during the past year, particularly amongst manufacturing businesses. We are still bumping along the bottom - and people may not be making huge amounts of money - but they are holding their own.
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“More than that, in some of the engineering sectors I have been to companies where they are reporting the best year they’ve ever had. We’re talking heavy engineering, foundries, forges and component suppliers to the automotive and aerospace industries; particularly when they are supplying the top end of the market.”
“We are even starting to see the repatriation of some manufacturing back to the UK from the Far East because of quality issues and the problems of ten week supply chains.
“Of course we have been dealing with firms in some sectors of the economy that are having a pretty gruesome time of it, particularly High Street retailing. They’re getting hit with the triple whammy of declining consumer spending, the switch to Internet shopping and the challenge of the major players who are desperate to increase market share, have the resources to weather the storm and can undercut anybody.
“Looking ahead, life on the High Street is going to be just as difficult in 2013. Sadly, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel – the tunnel is just getting longer and darker as disposable income is squeezed and competition gets fiercer.”
Speaking of CJM’s business, Mr Moses said: “The firm’s switch to a much larger auction centre in Dunlop Way in Scunthorpe at the beginning of the year has had a major impact on our operation. We have staged a record number of auctions - over 100 - at the new auction centre and on clients’ premises around the country.
“Unusually, the auctions included one plant and machinery sale that was based inside a prison. In view of the security implications at the prison, on the Isle of Sheppey, we were doubtful that the authorities would permit us to bring potential buyers on to the site but they were very helpful – as were a number of the prisoners who had operated the equipment. It was a great success and the star lot, a waste baling unit, made three times expectations.
“Away from auctions, we have had a pretty stunning year in terms of private treaty work around the world. These ultra-high value plant deals have included the sale of four continuous copper strip casting lines for Deutsche Nickel in Dortmund for 700,000 Euros and the sale of a tension levelling line, used in the production of aluminium coils, in Shanghai to an Indian company for over half a million dollars.
“We have also recently won instructions to sell a heavy duty steel cut-to-length line in Greece, an aluminium foil manufacturing plant in Sardinia, a powder coating line in Crete and, nearer to home, the bloom and billet mill at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe, a huge plant valued at around £15 million.
“These major projects are fascinating to work on but challenging. The number of potential buyers for a multi-million pound steel mill or a paper manufacturing plant is quite small and those companies that are interested are cautious about big investments in the current global economic climate.
“In short, you have to kiss an awful lot of frogs before you find a princess. That said, we’re rather good at it.”