Sweet success as firm lands contract

(from left) Jane Siddle of NEL and Linda and Steve Biggins of Fairgrieve.
(from left) Jane Siddle of NEL and Linda and Steve Biggins of Fairgrieve.
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LIFE is sweet for a Wearside firm after landing a million-pound contract with one of Germany’s biggest confectionary manufacturers.

Fairgrieve Moulding has beaten off competition from Australia and the U.S. to secure a deal to manufacture equipment for global giant August Storck AG.

And the Washington-based firm’s directors hope this initial contract will lead to additional work with Storck that could be worth up to a further £4million.

Run by husband and wife management team Steve and Linda Biggins, the business employs nine people, a figure Steve hopes will increase in the coming months.

“Even being asked to tender for a contract by an organisation like Storck is a testament to the products we produce, the production standards we uphold and the market reputation that we’ve built up over the years. So to win it in the face of international competition is a tremendous achievement for us,” he said.

“As well as being a terrific opportunity in itself, we’re very hopeful that this deal will lead on to further work for Storck, which will in turn help us grow the business significantly.”

To help provide the working capital required and buy the additional equipment needed to manufacture the 94,200 sweet trays before the end of the year, Fairgrieve secured a £200,000 investment from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, via the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.

“We’ve needed to move quickly to get everything in place to fulfil the Storck contract, as all the product has to be delivered before the end of the year, and the NEL team’s support through the investment application process has been invaluable. We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Steve.

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Fairgrieve’s achievement in securing this major contract should not be underestimated, and it is yet another example of the manufacturing expertise that North East England still boasts.

“Their track record and production expertise made this a very attractive opportunity for us, and continues the investment momentum that the Growth Fund has gathered over recent months.”

Founded in Sunderland in 1913, Fairgrieve manufactures high quality compression and injection mouldings using a wide range of modern materials, working predominantly in the electrical and mining industries and exporting to customers in several countries across continental Europe, as well as China.

Fairgrieve was the first company in Europe to be able to mould Bakelite, after its founders travelled to the U.S. to view the process.

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