Stoke-on-Trent manufacturing plant set to close with 105 job losses

Johnson Tiles
Johnson Tiles

A management buyout of a Stoke-on-Trent tiling firm will result in the loss of more than 100 jobs, as the new owners look to close its production facility.

Johnson Tiles, a subsidiary of Norcros, was sold for £1m to its UK management team comprising managing director Stephen Dixon, commercial director Rich Kelsall and procurement director Jason Bridges.

The new owners now plan to move to an entirely outsourced business model meaning staff are currently being consulted regarding the closure of Johnson Tiles’ manufacturing facility in Tunstall, impacting up to 105 roles in production.

Both Norcros and the new owners say the deal and change in operations will “protect the long-term success of the British heritage brand through challenging market conditions and the next stage of growth”.

Managing director, Stephen Dixon comments: ”We are, of course, making this announcement with very mixed feelings, acutely aware of what this means for our colleagues and what it says about UK manufacturing as a whole.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are looking to stop production at the Stoke plant but the cost of making tiles in this country – despite ongoing investment – has become increasingly unsustainable.”

Wendy Grieveson, GMB Organiser, said: “Thousands of working people in Stoke-On-Trent rely on our potteries and this news is yet another huge blow to our community.

“Spiralling energy costs and Government inaction risks stripping Stoke of it’s manufacturing jobs.

“Johnsons is an iconic Stoke brand creating a product rooted in our city; it’s devastating that this will now be manufactured abroad”.

Dixon added: “We have a great sourcing business and, together with our strong design and customer service capabilities, we are well placed for the future. This deal secures Johnson Tiles position as a leading UK designer and supplier of tiles, as well as ensuring we remain a significant employer in the Staffordshire region.”

Thomas Willcocks, CEO of Norcros plc, the parent company of Johnson Tiles, said: “We are pleased for Stephen and the management team and believe this agreement is in the best interests of staff, customers and shareholders of both Johnson Tiles and Norcros. We are committed to supporting the business as it makes this transition and look forward to partnering on opportunities in the bathroom and kitchen markets.”