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Plastics maker is on the move
A FIRM which specialises in plant pots and garden products is set for major growth after switching its headquarters to Banbury.
The Stewart Company, which also makes products for the catering and aerospace industries, has taken over a 178,000 sq ft office and manufacturing base on the Beaumont Industrial Estate.
The move, which represents a £3m investment, means more than 70 jobs will come to the town in the next nine months following the company’s decision to leave its current home in Croydon, Surrey.
Managers hope most of their existing staff will move to Oxfordshire but expect that some new jobs will also be created as a result of the move to Banbury.
Chief executive Richard Butler said: “We are an expanding company, both in terms of products and new markets, but this is the right time for us to make this move.
“Banbury is exceptionally well-placed for distribution, which is essential to us, as we supply more than 1,600 garden centres, retailers and distributors across the UK.
“The building is ideal for our needs and will allow us the growth to continue our expansion.”
Mr Butler said negotiations with existing staff about making the move were continuing, with operations moving north in the early summer.
He said: “We anticipate the start-up phase will be completed in July. It’s a very exciting time.”
Stewart, which was founded in 1945, makes moulded plastic products, including plant pots, propagators, composters and water butts, as well as food storage units and aerospace components.
It exports its garden products to European markets, including France and Spain, and its catering division is expanding in Germany, Belgium and Holland.
The building has been taken on a 15-year lease. It was occupied until recently by parcels firm DHL.
Bill Wareing, of property agent Wareing & Co, said: “This is a real coup for Banbury. Stewart had a wide choice of possible locations but chose Banbury for its transport links and the suitability of the building.
“This is a major letting in what are testing market conditions.”