JCB celebrates its birthday in style

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By Leek Post and Times | Friday, June 24, 2011, 08:00

DIGGER giant JCB has celebrated its 65th birthday by unveiling a sharp rise in sales.

The Rocester-based firm, which has two factories in Cheadle and employs people from across the Staffordshire Moorlands, yesterday revealed its sales hit £2 billion last year.

This compared to £1.35 billion in 2009, with the firm's nine Staffordshire factories now employing 5,000 people.

JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford said: "Together we have been through a very bad patch, probably the worst recession I have known as a businessman.

"We have 18 plants around the world. Eleven are in Britain, of which 10 are in close proximity to here. In 1975, when I took over from my father, we had one plant. We are continuing to invest in all our plants in Britain."

The firm had axed 1,800 workers since 2007 as the recession led to falling orders, but employee numbers have now returned to pre-recession levels for the first time.

JCB celebrated 65 years of production by pledging to keep investing in Staffordshire.

Each employee among its 10,000 global workforce received a bottle of wine, two glasses and a JCB DVD to mark the anniversary.

The celebration took place yesterday to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the birth of JCB's founder, the late Joseph Cyril Bamford, Sir Anthony's father.

He set up JCB in a garage in Uttoxeter on the day his son was born in October 1945.

The firm's latest figures showed earnings before interest, tax and depreciation, effectively the amount of free cash a company has, was £235 million in 2010, up from £94.5 million in 2009.

It is expected pre-tax profits for 2010 will be significantly higher than the £29 million generated in 2009 and that more machines will be sold this year than the 51,600 in 2010.

Sir Anthony added: "We are taking people on and quite a few are people who worked for us before.

"We know how good they are and it was regrettable they had to leave."

He added: "2011 has also started well for the JCB Group, but we are still mindful of economic concerns which could hold back the recovery."

Sir Anthony confirmed that in 2011 JCB would also be investing more than £20 million in modernising and increasing capacity at its 11 UK plants.

Staffordshire county councillor Ian Parry, the authority's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and transformation, said: "JCB has contributed a massive amount to the Staffordshire economy over the years."

      

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