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Timber people safe from axe
A TIMBER firm has secured the future of its 130-strong Oxfordshire workforce thanks to a £20m cash injection.
Timbmet, which has its head office on Cumnor Hill, Oxford, has secured funding from Lloyds Bank with the aim of cementing its current business and developing it for the future.
Managing director Nigel Cox said: “It is fair to say the economic climate has been very tough and it has impacted on us as well as many others.
“A lot of effort has gone into finding funding. It is important for us because we employ a lot of people and we want to continue to give job security.”
Over the course of the double dip recession Timbmet has made about 20 workers redundant, forced to retract due to factors such as the impact on the construction industry.
Originally a hard wood timber provider, Timbmet has expanded its range to include panels, doors and engineered products and is looking to develop those areas further.
Now it is looking to boost distribution from its main depot in Shellingford and bosses are looking to recruit more lorry drivers.
Timbmet was set up in London by Ludwig Kemp, the Czechoslovakian timber and metal merchant, in 1942 and moved to Cumnor Hill in 1956.
It continues to be owned by the Kemp family, with chairman Simon Fineman the son-in-law of Dan Kemp, who died in 2009. Mr Kemp spent 40 years building the business to become Britain’s biggest hardwood employer.
In 2008 it moved its depot away from Cumnor Hill to the White Horse Business Park, Shellingford, with the site being developed for housing.
Timbmet has a turnover of £85m and employs a total of 287 across the UK.
Mr Cox, who has stepped into the managing director’s chair this year after moving up from operations director, said: “The money gives us the stability to look at the business to make sure we are aligned right to really move forward in the future.
“It’s about understanding our changing market place and having the local skills and experience in place.”
Richard Colclough, Lloyds Bank commercial banking relationship director, said: “Timbmet has built an excellent reputation due to the quality of its products and services.”