Bin maker pins hopes on sales rise

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RECYCLING group Straight said sales are up over the past three months, giving it confidence that its underlying profits will pick up.

The Leeds-based wheelie bin and kerbside box-maker put out a profits warning last month and said it has cut jobs in its factory to reduce costs.

Yesterday the group announced pre-tax losses of £240,000 for the six months to June 30, up from a loss of £110,000 last year.

Group sales rose 11.4 per cent to £16.7m.

The group is axing 40 per cent of its manufacturing staff at a factory in Hull, with the loss of 45 jobs.

Chief executive Jonathan Straight said the Hull factory had suffered years of underinvestment before Straight took it over.

“We moved the non-core product out – storage boxes, shelving and first aid cases, which was all very labour intensive and fiddly work.”

Since the streamlining Mr Straight said the group has turned the corner.

“The numbers for July and August demonstrate all the work we’ve done has actually worked,” he said.

“Sales are up. It’s a real pity we weren’t able to prove the changes were effective.”

Straight started manufacturing in March 2010 when it bought the bulk of waste company Helesi’s UK business for £1.65m in cash, after Helesi ceased manufacturing at its Bradford plant in September 2009.

In August 2010 it bought Hull-based injection moulding firm Powell Plastics, which earned the bulk of its £10m annual revenues making plastic recycling and waste containers for Straight.

However, the Powell deal has proved problematic.