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UK: Financial backing for glass firm hits right note

Post Time:Apr 24,2009Classify:Company NewsView:300

A NORTH Yorkshire glass firm, which built the stage for last year's Eurovision song contest in Belgrade, hopes to expand in the UK after agreeing a £400,000 investment line from Partnership Investment Finance (PIF).

AWJ Glass, based in Eastfield, Scarborough, plans to invest in technology and in marketing its energy-saving products.

AWJ, which manufactures double-glazed units and toughened safety glass products, won the contract for Belgrade after it had worked with a stage design company in Easingwold, North Yorkshire. The firm lost confidence in its supplier and asked AWJ to produce some curved and processed glass. The deal gave it valuable exposure.

The firm built the glass stage for the festival of Europop music, won by Russian hearthrob Dima Bilan, in Serbia last May, and is in the running to manufacture the stage for this year's competition at the Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow next month.

Andy Whitelaw, managing director of AWJ, said: "Our products require heavy investment to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of hi-tech glass unit manufacturing. The investment allows us to stay ahead of the competition while at the same time increasing marketing for our specialist products."

AWJ, which was founded in 1996, said it is one of only two companies in the UK producing glazing units with the energy efficient Tri-Seal foam spacers. Its products also include soft-coat glasses which have performance advantages over hard-coat glass types.

Mr Whitelaw added: "This investment helps us capitalise on the market for these energy efficient products and move quickly to establish ourselves as market leaders. PIF listened to our plans, allowed us to discuss our business ideas and provided good advice."

Two years ago, Mr Whitelaw, who runs the firm with his wife, Debbie, was named one of North Yorkshire's best entrepreneurs by Business Link York and North Yorkshire. Helen West, chief executive of the business support organisation before it merged with its neighbours, praised him for investing in machinery and raising turnover.

Ondrej Okeke, investment manager of PIF, which is aimed at supporting growing businesses in Yorkshire and Humber, said: "AWJ has high quality products and a good business plan. We hope our involvement will help them achieve all their objectives."

Alex McWhirter, assistant director of business at Yorkshire Forward, said: "As AWJ proves, investment is vital in order to remain competitive, and this is where PIF support can help."
 

Source: yorkshirepost.co.ukAuthor: shangyi

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