Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland trailer maker's profits soar to £12.5m

Turnover up from £179m to £189m at Toome firm

By John Mulgrew

A Northern Ireland trailer manufacturer has seen profits surge by 20% to £12.5m.

Toome-based SDC Trailers also increased turnover from £179m to £189m, according to the latest accounts ending March 31, 2017.

SDC Trailers is owned by Retlan Manufacturing.

It was sold to CIMC Vehicles in China, one of three big deals last year involving the sale of Northern Ireland assets to firms in that nation.

Accounts for Retlan Manufacturing say the "level of business and the year end financial position were considered satisfactory, and the directors expect that the current level of activity will be sustained for the foreseeable future".

The accounts also show that on June 24 "the entire equity shareholding in Retlan Manufacturing Ltd was sold to CIMC Vehicles UK Ltd".

SDC Trailers is the largest trailer manufacturer in the UK and Ireland, with production facilities here and in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The directors say they "remain confident that the current level of performance will be sustained in the future, and it is the directors' intention to develop the present activities of the group".

The company does not expect "any material changes to the group's business as a result of the UK exiting the EU, as the primary market that the group serves remains in the UK".

The founder of Retlan Manufacturing received the Aer Lingus lifetime achievement accolade at the 2017 Viscount Awards.

John Donnelly, who retired after selling Retlan to CIMC Vehicles, was one of the businesspeople honoured at Ulster Business and Aer Lingus' annual celebration of success in London in May.

In August the Retlan Group announced the appointment of Enda Cushnahan as chief executive.

Mr Cushnahan (42) replaced Mark Cuskeran.

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

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

In February last year SDC unveiled a new plant, enabling it to start production of a trailer every 12 minutes, rolling out a total of 40 a day.

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

Belfast Telegraph

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