JCB boss, Lord Bamford has spoken out in favour of an exit from the EU.
Speaking with BBC Midlands earlier this week, the chairman of the construction equipment firm said the UK could exist “peacefully and sensibly on its own”.
Lord Bamford made the comment while announcing the companies £303m underlying earnings in 2014 compared to £313 in 2013.
Relating to the strength of the British economy, Lord Bamford said that there was no reason the UK couldn’t “negotiate as our own country, rather than being one of 28 nations.”
Rocester-based JCB realised its fourth most profitable year in 2014, despite a fall in overall earnings and a weak global construction market.
The world’s third-largest supplier of earth-moving equipment sold 64,028 machines last year, compared with 66,227 in 2012.
Lord Bamford said the firm had been hit by the slowdown in the construction industry, particularly in India, one of its biggest markets.
The construction equipment market in Brazil dropped by 17% in 2014, Russia fell by 27%, India by almost 15% and China by 17%. Markets in the UK and North America grew by 30% and 13% respectively. JCB’s sales in North America grew by 23% – outpacing the market and making it a record year for JCB in North America, which is now the company’s third biggest market behind India and the UK.
Lord Bamford added: “Global market uncertainty has continued into 2015, though our home market of the UK remains a rare bright spot. The need for infrastructure in much of the developing world remains acute and will eventually drive a resumption of growth. Our resilient performance in 2014 demonstrates we are well placed to capitalise on improving trends as they emerge.”
Since 2010, JCB has created 2,000 new jobs at its 11 UK plants, boosting employment levels to 6,000. Globally, the company now employs 12,500 people. JCB is currently investing in UK manufacturing by increasing production capacity at its World HQ in Rocester, Staffs. The company also completed a 700,000 sq ft factory development in Jaipur, India in 2014 costing £62 million and construction of a new €25 million HQ for JCB Germany is also underway.
Lord Bamford added: “We continue to invest heavily in all areas of our business despite the difficult markets, and this is the best demonstration of our confidence in the future”.