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MBO saves Pontardawe fridge business and jobs

PONTARDAWE Refrigeration Products has been bought by former managing director Jon Godsall and is open for business with a new name.
In operation since the first week of March, Jon Godsall has renamed the Swansea company Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant and hired back 19 senior staff members and production staff.

The management buyout meant Godsall bought the stock and assets of Pontardawe Refrigeration Products, after liquidators had been called in at the end of 2008 and 35 workers were laid off.

Having employed most of the former staff, the managing director expects orders to rise in April and as a result anticipates hiring more workers.

Godsall is looking to develop a CO2 plant in Swansea as a new growth area for the business. He intends to keep all the business' products including compressors, control panels and condensing units.

Godsall said: 'It was important to keep the manufacturing facility in Wales and make sure we put in solid plans and learn from mistakes. One large part of this is the way we handle terms and conditions going forward. This will include credit insurance'.

Pontardawe Refrigeration Products had been trading since 2000 but suffered two large debts and a downturn in orders from October 2008 which led to liquidators being called in.

Godsall has made a substantial yet undisclosed personal investment in Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant. Financial support has also come from Neath & Port Talbot council.

The managing director has now brought in consultant Debra Bowen to the post of financial controller. He has re-employed his former finance director Mike Baugh to take the role of purchasing manager.

Godsall added 'We're building things up as we get orders and have received a lot of support from suppliers and customers'.

After putting out a lot of tenders, Godsall has received indications of orders totalling £300,000.

Restructuring has led to the company's second office in Twining remaining closed. Design was previously carried out in Twining but has now been transferred to the Swansea building.

Godsall forecasts Pontardawe Refrigeration Plant will make £3.2m turnover for the first year of trading ending March 2010. In 2008, Pontardawe Refrigeration Products acheived a £4.3m turnover.

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