Belfast Telegraph

Carpet company hires 15 staff as profits soar

By Heather McGarrigle

A Portadown carpet manufacturer is taking on 15 new staff after posting a strong annual increase in profits and turnover.

Ulster Carpets increased turnover by 4% to £49.07m and profits before tax by 119% to £3.17m.

It is now recruiting 15 more employees at its factory in Portadown to cope with increased demand.

Managing director Nick Coburn said the results are better than expected, given rising costs of raw materials, such as wool, jute, cotton and oil-based materials.

Managing director Nick Coburn said: "In some cases the market price of the top quality wool types we use has more than doubled, but we have resisted the temptation to dilute quality by buying poorer wool types. We've also held firm in our pricing."

Mr Coburn said there had been "tentative signs of improvement" in export markets, helped by favourable currency rates.

"Although it is impossible to make firm forecasts in the current trading environment, we expect that improved demand will result in increased turnover going forward."

However, the company expressed its frustration with the EU and UK government. Mr Coburn said it had failed to reduce excessive regulation and red tape which "creates an enormous and unnecessary workload for management, adding hugely to the cost of employing people generally, as well as stifling enterprise and initiative".

Ulster Carpets also posted a rise in its gross profit margin from 31.9% to 34.1%, which it attributes to improved efficiency and reduction in waste and energy costs.

Mr Coburn described the figures as "excellent".

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