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Brintons bosses urge UK Government to help
KIDDERMINSTER could be undercut by Portugal as the owners of carpet firm Brintons prepares to make a decision which could bring more jobs to the town.
The company’s American owners Carlyle will decide at the end of the year where to invest £8 million in new looms, which can weave up to 24 colours. The technology has taken 15 years to develop.
According to Brintons managing director Don Coates, the incentive to invest in Portugal is currently stronger, with the Government there offering a 45 per cent subsidy, compared to 10 per cent being offered in the UK.
If the UK is chosen, it could see the creation of 80 jobs in Kidderminster.
Mr Coates said: “Investment is the lifeblood of any manufacturer and we have a new technology which has taken 15 years to develop.
“I would very much like to support the UK but we have an American owner, which needs to get a bigger return for its money. We have been talking to the UK Government about what we can do.
“The total investment is about £8 million and would create, I estimate, an additional 80 jobs and £20 million in export sales.”
At the moment, about 350 people are employed at Brintons factory in Stourport Road.
Earlier this month, Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier met Business Minister Mark Prisk to discuss how the financial gap between what is being offered by Britain and Portugal could be narrowed.
“Finding a solution is far from straightforward but Mr Prisk has agreed to help draw together some strands that may well close the gap,” said Mr Garnier. “There is more work to be done but there is a strong commitment by all that we must explore every avenue to keep Kidderminster as the global centre of leading carpet technology."
Brintons Carpets was taken over by the Carlyle Group a year ago and Mr Coates said since the move the business has been turned around into being profitable.
“We had to reduce costs,” he said.
“But the business is still not making enough of a return.”
Bosses at the firm had resisted pressure to move its Kidderminster operations to China, which would have seen the “death” of the town’s factory, according to Mr Coates.
“We decided not to do that and now we are making good progress in Kidderminster,” he added.