A strong start to 2021 has signalled a year of optimism for a North Yorkshire chemical company which was forced to ‘pivot’ its core business offering last year.
Airedale Chemical, based in Cross Hills near Skipton, has reported a promising increase in sales for January compared to the same period last year after refocusing its strategy from high volume to speciality chemical solutions during 2020.
The company’s resilience and speed of response during the first wave of Covid-19 meant that by the end of the year it was able to invest in a new easy-to-navigate website to be launched shortly, a 20-strong fleet rebrand and a modernised production facility with 30% more capacity.
The team’s continued optimism follows the emergence of a post-Brexit market for UK-manufactured biocides – an area which has been key since the outbreak of the pandemic – and the ongoing acquisition strategy of the Airedale Group following its latest purchase of metal surface treatment specialist, Alutech.
Daniel Marr, group chief commercial officer, explains: “Despite a challenging year for most sectors, we demonstrated how resilient the company is and we were able to move quickly into bulk hand sanitiser distribution at the start of lockdown, which meant we were able to meet our sales targets last year.
“Our strategy for moving forward will involve the addition of higher value added products to our offering, performing a gradual shift from high volume commodity chemicals towards more speciality solutions. We will be taking baby steps and excercising caution in these uncertain times, but we are confident that by working with key manufacturers on strategic product distribution deals, we will find the key growth we need.
“We have already made significant investment in the last couple of months throughout the business which is indicative of our optimism for the future.”
Airedale Chemical is well-known throughout the industry and locally for its work in the community and is making plans to re-engage with the locals schools and colleges it has built relationships with. It has also engaged regularly with local community groups and campaigns in the surrounding parishes and intends to continue supporting those organisations again throughout 2021.
Daniel adds: “In a non-pandemic climate, our growth would undoubtedly have been much more progressive as key customers feel obvious challenges in industries such as hospitality and leisure, but we are grateful to have faired so well in such difficult circumstances and are feeling extremely positive about the future.”
Airedale Chemical has been based in Cross Hills since 1994 and provides chemicals and contract manufacturing to markets including agriculture, dairy, water treatment and waste management.