Return to profit for cutlery firm

A Sheffield cutlery firm has sealed its transformation by returning to profit six years after its future was threatened by losses of £1.2m.

Grant Thornton director Peter Edwards (left) with John Horton, managing director of Amefa UK

Amefa UK has doubled turnover to £11.3m in the same period after a massive management shake up in a last bid for survival.

The firm, which is based in Handsworth and owns the brand Richardson Sheffield, now exports to more than 50 countries.

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Managing director John Horton said: “The company has undergone an amazing transformation over the last six years and we are very proud of our achievements. Not only is the design work for our products done here, we also launched a stunning new ‘Made in Sheffield’ range in 2013 and we have doubled our workforce to 76 staff.

“Our strategy was to start by investing in the best people and build a top quality team who could ensure that we achieved our goals of providing outstanding customer service and developing new products which would lead the way in terms of style and design, all at an affordable price.

“Twenty years ago, our Richardson Sheffield brand enjoyed strong exports throughout the world, and we are making great progress in reviving the brand’s global reputation, winning new customers around the world on the back of our new product development programme. There’s still much to do, but it’s exciting that overseas markets offer so much potential to grow our business.”

Richardson Sheffield was established in 1839 and was acquired by Dutch company Amefa Group in 2007. Amefa UK recently refinanced through Barclays in Sheffield which injected a six figure sum into the business.

The company has also been supported by Sheffield business adviser Grant Thornton which worked with Amefa up to 2009 and has been re-appointed to provide auditing and tax services.

Peter Edwards, director at Grant Thornton in Sheffield, said: “To take a failing business and turn it around in a relatively short space of time as John and his team have done is daunting.”