Dudson set to expand
THE UK’s oldest tableware manufacturer has successfully secured £3 million of investment from the Business Growth fund (BGF)
The announcement follows rapid growth in some key markets and a rise in demand for their popular Evolution range launched four years ago, which boasts the lowest carbon footprint of any ceramic hospitality tableware manufactured anywhere in the world.
Designed with the hand-made appearance of thrown pottery, orders have increased so rapidly on the Evolution product range that demand has been outstripping production capacity leading to the 200-year-old family business seeking an investment partner in order to pursue rapid plans for growth over the next five years.
The cash injection will allow Dudson, whose headquarters are in Stoke-on-Trent, to invest in new machinery, product development, sales and marketing to drive growth in key markets, while also supporting improved customer service with faster delivery times.
Max Dudson, CEO of Dudson, said he was delighted with the new partnership and BGF’s approach to investment. “We have a clearly identified strategy for growth which requires capital investment to deliver improvements, and we were keen to find a partner who had the foresight to invest in our strategy.
“BGF is an independent company established to help support the growth of British businesses, and their modus operandi of providing unsecured capital while allowing the incumbent board of directors to retain full control of the business, coupled with their long term perspective, makes this a perfect partnership for Dudson.
“This marks an exciting period for us and all our employees across the world, as this investment allows us to deliver our strategy for future growth, which in turn will lead to job security and the creation of hundreds of jobs across the business.”
Operating since 1800, Dudson is currently under the stewardship of eighth generation family Ian, Max and Mark Dudson who act as non-executive chairman, CEO and Operations Director respectively. The ninth generation is already represented by Ian’s daughter Katie, who is the company’s marketing manager.
The ceramic tableware company sells to customers globally as well as through a range of distributors and agents, and customers include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Rail, Hilton & Hyatt Hotels, Nandos, Princess Cruises, Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and several Michelin starred restaurants.
Ian Downing, investment director at BGF who joins the company’s board, said: “Dudson has an impressive 200-year track record and has carved out a strong niche position in the international market for hospitality tableware.It is a great example of a British manufacturing business that has invested heavily in product and process innovation and successfully taken its products into an international marketplace.
“The company’s board has identified a clear strategy to develop and grow the business, with the objective of being able to pass on a larger, stronger organisation to future generations.
“We look forward to bringing both financial and strategic support to the table and to working with the team to deliver on their ambitions.”
Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive at the British Ceramic Confederation, said: “We are delighted that such a significant investment is being made in a notable UK manufacturer. This builds on a very strong record of product and technology innovation at the company, together with a welcome focus on growing export sales.”