Steelite, recent recipients of a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise commending its exporting performance, is to expand its Stoke-on-Trent production facilities, creating 230 jobs.
Having seen international demand for its pottery soar with sales rising six percent to £70.2m last year and 80% of turnover coming from overseas, Steelite is looking to capitalise on its growing popularity in the US, Asia and South American markets.
It is currently the UK’s largest tableware manufacturer, with 700 UK employees and 100 overseas, and sells chinaware to the Hilton and Four Seasons hotels as well as pub and restaurant chain Whitbread and P&O Cruises.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Kevin Oakes, the company’s chief executive, said: “We sell into more than 130 countries. I have no doubt that’s largely because we manufacture in the UK. Our overseas customers see a real value in the Made in England backstamp.”
“It’s not just about the quality and design, it’s about the integrity of the business as a whole – the service we offer and the fact that we stand by our products and our values,” he said.
Mr Oakes added he believes mandatory country of origin labelling should be implemented on all UK-made pottery, to prevent offshore manufacturing productions claiming their products to be British made.
The company, which underwent a buy-out from Royal Doulton, also announced a fall in its pre-tax profits, from £7.9m last year to to £7.2m this year, citing the costs of international expansion and the acquisition of 263-year-old ceramic firm Royal Crown Derby.