Belfast Telegraph

Chinese company snaps up Co Antrim firm SDC Trailers

By John Mulgrew

Co Antrim firm SDC Trailers has been bought by Chinese company CIMC Vehicles for an undisclosed sum. The deal is for Retlan Manufacturing Limited, which includes the Toomebridge-based SDC Trailers.

The existing management team will remain in their current posts, the company says.

David Li, general manager and director of the board of CIMC Vehicles, said: "We are delighted to have acquired the Retlan Group. The acquisition will mark an exciting new chapter in its history.

"We look forward to working with the existing management to continue its fine tradition of high quality UK-based manufacturing and to the opportunity for further investment to help grow the business.

"The Retlan Group will represent a valuable complement to CIMC Vehicles' portfolio and progress our on-going policy of global operations, local knowledge."

And Mark Cuskeran, chief executive of Retlan Group, said: The acquisition is an important step forward for SDC Trailers and the rest of the Retlan Group.

"This is a significant opportunity for the company, its staff and for the future. We have been impressed by the approach of the new owners to the acquisition, and the company is now looking forward to a significant period of growth on a global scale."

In February, SDC revealed a new plant which it says will enable it to start production of a new trailer every 12 minutes.

The new facility at SDC Trailers in Toomebridge represents a £3.5m investment by the company.

Production from the plant was more than 9,400 during 2015, and the company said turnover was expected to reach £189m during 2016.

And the new facility should enable it to roll out 40 trailers a day, the firm said.

It has invested in new equipment including a high-end fibre laser cutter and new pressbrakes for folding steel components.

SDC saw its profits rise to more than £150m, during its last set of accounts.

Pre-tax profits at the firm were also up, rising to £7m for the year to March 2015.

That was up from £4m a year earlier.

The firm was founded in 1978 and now employs more than 900 people in four plants, including three in Northern Ireland and one in Nottinghamshire.

It has plants in Belfast and Newry, as well as Toomebridge.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.