Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim trailer firm lands £6.8m deal with Stobart

By John Mulgrew

A Co Antrim trailer firm has secured a £6.8m deal with road haulage giant Eddie Stobart.

SDC Trailers will supply 240 new trailers to the company.

It's the first major deal for the Toomebridge firm, after it was taken over by Chinese company CIMC Vehicles for an undisclosed sum in June.

The latest deal will include 50 gooseneck skeletal trailers and 25 skeletal trailers for Eddie Stobart's port logistics.

It's the latest order from Eddie Stobart, which ordered 650 trailers from SDC earlier this year.

Mark Cuskeran, chief executive of SDC Trailers, said: "It's been a busy and momentous year for SDC to date, with an expansion to our production facilities, the launch of our pioneering new Kers trailer, our acquisition by CIMC and now the IAA show and Trailer Innovation Awards.

"The hard work and investment SDC have put into practice over the last few years has allowed us to secure continuing relationships with our customers and be recognised as one of the leading trailer brands in Europe."

SDC employs more than 900 staff across its sites here, and in Nottinghamshire.

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

SDC was bought by CIMC Vehicles earlier this year. That deal is for Retlan Manufacturing Limited, which includes SDC.

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

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.

And back in February, the company revealed a new plant which it says will enable it to start production of a new trailer every 12 minutes.

The facility 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.

In May last year, SDC announced an order worth £15m for 700 trailers from TIP Trailer Services, a US-based firm which operates in 16 countries.

SDC also launched in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of 2015 after targeting the Middle Eastern market.

Speaking about its takeover of SDC this summer, David Li, general manager 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 and local knowledge."

Belfast Telegraph