LIVE FROM INFORMEX: Record year accelerates RBL expansion plans

18% growth in sales boost investment plans for Robinson Brothers and Endeavour

An 18% rise in group revenues made 2011 one of the best years ever for UK independent chemical manufacturer Robinson Brothers (RBL). Subsidiary company Endeavour Speciality Chemicals also posted strong sales for the year, up 11% over 2010. The increase in sales will act as a driving factor behind Robinson Brothers’ plans to invest and expand the business as part of an aggressive growth strategy for 2012 and beyond.

Robinson Brothers provides speciality organic chemical intermediates for a diverse range of market sectors, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, speciality rubber additives, flavours and fragrances, food and beverage and materials sciences. From the increased sales, Robinson Brothers plans to invest more than £1.2m across its business in 2012, with £500,000 earmarked for spending at its subsidiary company Endeavour and £750,000 worth of investment planned for its West Bromwich site.

RBL managing director Adrian Hanrahansaid: “2011 has proven to be one of the best years in our history and it is especially pleasing to report that sales were up across all of our business units. The strong sales performance means that we can accelerate investment plans for the business beyond the figures announced last year and continue to cement our position as one of the UK’s most successful speciality chemical companies.”

The money will be spent on increasing capacity and introducing new technologies. ESC will benefit from the installation of new minireactors and a new extraction system, while RBL will see the installation of Hosokawa milling and drying processors.

The increased level of investment will allow us to move up plans to introduce new technologies

For 2013 a sum of $1m has been allocated for the introduction of flow chemistry, and trials are currently underway in Sweden. In particular this will free up capacity at ESC and allow it to take on more projects.

“The increased level of investment will allow us to move up plans to introduce new technologies. As a start, we have commissioned trials for new flow-chemistry reactors one year ahead of schedule with a view to purchase the reactors if the trials are successful,” said RBL r&d business manager Dr Bal Kalirai. “We strongly believe that flow chemistry will be an integral part of our offering going ing forward and we are very excited about delivering the benefits of this technology to our customers, possibly as early as 2012.”

The increased investment across the group has also meant that there have been a number of new appointments in 2011 with further recruitment planned for 2012. At Robinson Brothers’ site in West Bromwich the large number of development projects in 2011 acted as a driver to expand staff by 10%, including an increase in engineering staff. A group of eight new engineers were appointed to assist in development projects and to identify plant modifications needed to get manufacturing underway.

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