Pandemic response drives strong performance at industrial door maker

Union Industries, an employee-owned manufacturer of high-speed industrial doors, has reported positive financial results, achieving a turnover of £8.9m in its 2020 financial year.

The company is based in Hunslet, on the south side of Leeds.

Driven by demand from customers in the food manufacture, retail and distribution sectors, which saw a dramatic increase in activity throughout the pandemic – particularly during the national lockdowns – Union Industries became a key service provider in that period.

Alongside delivering a strong order book for new rapid roll doors, the business saw an increase for its maintenance services as customers focused on ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency from their facilities including factories, warehouses and large-scale distribution centres.

Union Industries’ range of rapid-roller doors are used across a range of sectors, which include manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

After an initial three-week furlough period at the start of the pandemic for 50% of its workforce of more than 75 people, the firm quickly brought them back to undertake a range of duties to support a growing workload.

As a result, it ensured its workforce remained fully employed with no positions made redundant during the pandemic.

Subsequently, through its employee ownership status, Union Industries has been able to pay its employee-owners the maximum tax-free year-end bonus of £3,600, which was announced not long after the end of the company’s record-breaking 2020 financial year.

Union Industries, which was established 49 years ago, became employee owned in 2014 when its founders, Paul and Isobel Schofield, took the decision to safeguard the future of the company, selling their majority shareholding to the Union Industries Employee Ownership Trust.

Andrew Lane, managing director, said: “We are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved since the start of the pandemic, not only in our ability to maintain and grow our operations in this challenging period, but also to contribute to our customers’ efforts in keeping the country going by supporting the food manufacturing, distribution, pharmaceutical and other sectors during the lockdowns and beyond.

“As an employee-owned business, the success of Union is truly a collective achievement, that’s why everyone who has been with us for over a year is granted free shares, allowing us then to provide an equal EO bonus when we have a good year.

“We really came together more than ever before during the pandemic to support our customers and each other, which makes being a part of this wonderful company even more satisfying.

“As we enter our 50th year in business we continue to experience strong growth and have embarked on a recruitment drive, with the aim of filling up at least eight positions in various departments around the business.

“Demand for our doors continues to grow, particularly in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector where giant distribution fulfilment centres continue to be built across the country.

“We are confident that we can deliver further collective success in the future.”