Foundry casts its net wider for business

THERE are few obvious links between the Angel of the North and a picturesque stretch of canal in the Cotswolds.

The common thread is Hargreaves Foundry, a Halifax-based business which brings out the beauty of cast iron.

The company, which dates from the 1880s, is working with artist Antony Gormley – who is probably best known for the iconic 66ft Angel of the North statue in Gateshead – on a series of six sculptures.

Hargreaves is hoping for more contract wins in 2011, which managing director Michael Hinchliffe believes will increase turnover by around 20 per cent, to 6.2m.

Hargreaves, which has 70 staff, is also working on the recreation of 200-year-old lock gates on the Cotswold Canals.

Mr Hinchliffe said he was feeling "pretty optimistic" about 2011.

He added: "As last year unfolded, the general economic data was better than people were expecting."

Although it was difficult to predict the precise economic impact of the rise in VAT, Mr Hinchliffe said he believed that the construction sector could only go up.

He added that the company "made hay" during the recession and had increased its sales force, marketing budget and stockholding so that it could respond quickly to new

orders.

The company has also secured orders for a number of restoration projects, including work on the Customs House in Pembroke and 13 cast-iron windows for the hydraulics pump house in Barry, Wales.

Mr Hinchliffe said he was sorry that Business Link and Yorkshire Forward will be axed, because they had provided some "great seminars" and courses on topics such as marketing.

He added: "Business Link had its critics but they really had got their act together. They will be sadly missed."