By Martin Walker
A Newton Aycliffe company that supplies a variety of wood products to a string of household retailers is set to report a 10% increase in turnover.
Katell specialise is manufacturing fireplaces and surrounds, producing around 500 every week and supplying to the likes of ASDA, Homebase, Tesco and many national house builders as well as social housing providers and local authorities up and down the UK.
But the Aycliffe firm, which is owned by Telford-based Charlton and Jenrick (with a group turnover of about £13m), also make wardrobes, occasional furniture and products for the care home market – new lines of the business which now makes up about 30% of turnover.
Katell, who employ 72 people at their 46,000 square foot facility, are expecting turnover to top £6m by the end of March, a rise of 10%, while they’re also planning to invest in new machinery in the coming months.
Design director Martin Holmes, who has been with the company since it started in 2000, helped to develops the firm’s product ranges since the move to new premises on Durham Way North after fire struck its old factory on Park 2000 eight years ago.
“We have had a really good start to the year and we are working on a couple of exciting projects,” said Martin.
“One is sub-contract work for a shop fitting company who are renovating a first class lounge at Heathrow, the other is counters and benches for a new chain of Italian restaurants in Glasgow.
“We’ve also increased our workforce to 72, and have just taken on a new sales rep to cover the North-West and West Midlands.”
Like a lot of firms, Katell has had to change its business to cope with the climate.
Martin added: “Fireplaces and surrounds have been our mainstay from day one and we continue to mass produce them for councils as far Cornwall, South Wales and Yorkshire and up to Scotland, as well as for big name national retailers.
“Our in-house design team has over 20 years experience in the furniture and joinery industry. Our designers can create fully working prototypes from basic sketches or fully detailed piece part drawings using the latest 3D modelling software.
“We can supply realistic renderings so that you can look at a model before we commit to prototyping, and using software such as Alphacam and Solid Works final designs can be transferred straight to our CNC routers, not only saving time and money but ensuring 100% accuracy of the finished product.
“We have an extensive range of timber processing machines along with highly-trained operatives, meaning we can produce accurate components machined to a very high standard.
“Also, all components produced at Katell are hand-finished to ensure the best possible products is supplied to our customer.”
Katell are geared up to produce anything from a one-off bespoke piece of furniture to high-volume batches of components.