Fothergill Engineered Fabrics

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Fothergill Engineered Fabrics is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.fothergillgroup.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | ASPIRE FURNITURE
be applied to new product types.
TheUKcustomer base continues to
expand and growth of our business
in the UK is set to continue at a rapid
rate, but it was events in 2019 that
present our biggest opportunities.
Barnsley to Vegas
We use a different type of foam to
the rest of Europe which means our
mattresses come with a significantly
higher cost than European
manufacturers. In this regard I would
urge the government to think carefully
when introducing new regulations
as misaligned legislation can cripple
export opportunities for the UK.
Despite our struggles to break into the
European market several factors have
fallen in our favour creating a huge
opportunity in the USmarket.
One of our key customer’s is a US
company. The US, China trade war
and anti-dumping legislation has had
a substantial impact on the US bed
and mattress market. The US mattress
market is worth in excess of $30
billion and growing. Only $7 billion is
manufactured domestically with the
rest imported, mostly from China. We
headed to Las Vegas to visit a trade
show to understand the differences
between UK and US products, when
our customer heard we were doing this
they quickly arranged a meeting with
the US buying team, having expressed
a desire for us to supply them in the
US as well as the UK.
Our trip to the US made us realise
that there is a great deal of
positive sentiment towards British
manufactured products in the States
and the opportunity in front of us is
both substantial and achievable. We
plan to supply our first customer in
early 2020 and to expand into other
US customers throughout the year.
The solutions we have developed for
the UK market can also be applied to
the US and with time we can provide
a best in class solution there as well as
here. We believe that our US division
will ultimately become substantially
larger than the UK. For us, successfully
negotiating a UK-US free trade deal
would be fantastic and enable us to
invest in the future with confidence.
For us,
successfully
negotiating a
UK-US free
trade deal
would be
fantastic and
enable us to
invest in the
future with
confidence
Hundreds of beds
upholstered every week
Top upholsterer Sam Wilcock
handcrafting a bed
21FOTHERGILL ENGINEERED FABRICS |
INDUSTRY & PRODUCTION
CEO Pat Brennan
Fothergill Engineered
Fabrics, Littleborough
With more than 170 years of export pedigree, the
Fothergill Group supplies performance glass fibre,
aramid and carbon fibre to a number of industries
across the world, including the aerospace, defence and
automotive sectors. CEO Pat Brennan tells
TheParliamentary
Review
that the firm has pioneered, invested and created
through three separate centuries. He talks about his background
and sets out the Fothergill structure of 2020.
Growing from idyllic beginnings on a farm in the west of Ireland to the heights of
ownership of the companies that make up the Fothergill Group is something I am
very proud of. The challenge of shaping the future was something I dared to dream
of throughout my formative years.
Following the completion of my Irish Leaving Certificate examination, I spent three
years training for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Following my departure from
there, I studied accountancy and qualified as both a certified accountant and a
chartered accountant.
Chemfab
I joined Chemfab, an American corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange,
in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, in 1985 as financial controller. While at Kilrush,
Iplayed a pivotal role in the acquisition of two UK distribution companies. In 1990,
following the acquisitions, I relocated with my family to England, where I assumed
the position of managing director of the newly acquired businesses, which I
renamed Chemfab UK and consolidated into one company.
FACTS ABOUT
FOTHERGILL ENGINEERED
FABRICS
»CEO: Pat Brennan
»Founded in 1847
»Located in Littleborough,
Greater Manchester
»Services: Weaving, knitting,
rubber compounding, rubber
coating and conversion of
high-performance synthetic
and natural textiles, PTFE
coating, fire and thermal
protection, EMI shielding and
fabrication
»No. of employees: 300
Fothergill Engineered
Fabrics
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | FOTHERGILL ENGINEERED FABRICS
Due to my background in finance,
I became involved in identifying
acquisition opportunities at Chemfab
UK. In 1995, through a complex deal,
the performance fabrics division of
Courtaulds Aerospace was acquired.
The division encompassed two
subdivisions: Tygaflor and Fothergill
Engineered Fabrics. Chemfab acquired
Tygaflor, and together with a business
partner, Gay O’Gara, I acquired FEF,
which had origins as a cotton weaver
and had been trading for 150 years.
I continued to work for Chemfab for
three years as the managing director
of Tygaflor while also assuming the
position of FEF CEO. In that period, I
merged Chemfab UK with Tygaflor;
at the same time, I separated FEF
fromTygaflor.
FEF
Since 1995, FEF has been determined
to maintain and develop its role as a
leading supplier of woven and knitted
high-performance textiles produced
from its weaving looms and knitting
machines. FEF utilises many fibre types,
including glass, carbon and aramid, to
manufacture its fabrics. At its finishing
plant, it applies a huge variety of
water-based chemical treatments to
enhance the fabricproperties.
FEF’s fabrics are used by the aerospace,
defence, thermal protection, hot
gas and molten metal filtration, and
automotive industries, among others.
Such is FEF’s expertise in developing
new solutions for sensitive problems
through its continuous programme of
research and development that it can
design fabrics to match customers’
exact requirements.
FP
In 2000, we purchased two companies:
AO Ferguson and Polycom. These
businesses have subsequently been
incorporated into one company –
Fothergill Polycom. This business had
been trading successfully for 100 years
and is a world-renowned producer
of custom rubber compounds and
speciality elastomer-coated fabrics.
Among others, it uses glass and aramid
fabrics woven at FEF as its substrate raw
material. This strategic alliance further
enhances the external perception
of the Fothergill Group as well as
its ability to provide customers with
effective solutions to theirproblems.
FP has three divisions: AOF, Superide
and Polycom. Polycom manufactures
rubber compounds in slab and strip,
which are both supplied to external
customers and used by the AOF and
Superide divisions. It also serves many
diverse industries, including those
producing seals, gaskets and moulded
products for automotive market sectors.
AOF manufactures specialty rubber-
coated fabrics for industrial, leisure
and sportswear applications, where
reliability and technical performance are
required to meet rigid customer needs.
Superide produces single and double-
side rubber-coated fabrics for high-
performance industrialapplications.
FCF
In 2003, we established Fothergill
Coated Fabrics on a greenfield site.
FCF specialises in PTFE-coated fabrics,
tapes and process conveyor belts, using
Fothergill Polycom
In a quarter of
a century,
through hard
work by a
dedicated and
proud
workforce, we
have grown
this business
into a
conglomerate
with 300 staff
and a turnover
of £50 million
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | FOTHERGILL ENGINEERED FABRICS
Due to my background in finance,
I became involved in identifying
acquisition opportunities at Chemfab
UK. In 1995, through a complex deal,
the performance fabrics division of
Courtaulds Aerospace was acquired.
The division encompassed two
subdivisions: Tygaflor and Fothergill
Engineered Fabrics. Chemfab acquired
Tygaflor, and together with a business
partner, Gay O’Gara, I acquired FEF,
which had origins as a cotton weaver
and had been trading for 150 years.
I continued to work for Chemfab for
three years as the managing director
of Tygaflor while also assuming the
position of FEF CEO. In that period, I
merged Chemfab UK with Tygaflor;
at the same time, I separated FEF
fromTygaflor.
FEF
Since 1995, FEF has been determined
to maintain and develop its role as a
leading supplier of woven and knitted
high-performance textiles produced
from its weaving looms and knitting
machines. FEF utilises many fibre types,
including glass, carbon and aramid, to
manufacture its fabrics. At its finishing
plant, it applies a huge variety of
water-based chemical treatments to
enhance the fabricproperties.
FEF’s fabrics are used by the aerospace,
defence, thermal protection, hot
gas and molten metal filtration, and
automotive industries, among others.
Such is FEF’s expertise in developing
new solutions for sensitive problems
through its continuous programme of
research and development that it can
design fabrics to match customers’
exact requirements.
FP
In 2000, we purchased two companies:
AO Ferguson and Polycom. These
businesses have subsequently been
incorporated into one company –
Fothergill Polycom. This business had
been trading successfully for 100 years
and is a world-renowned producer
of custom rubber compounds and
speciality elastomer-coated fabrics.
Among others, it uses glass and aramid
fabrics woven at FEF as its substrate raw
material. This strategic alliance further
enhances the external perception
of the Fothergill Group as well as
its ability to provide customers with
effective solutions to theirproblems.
FP has three divisions: AOF, Superide
and Polycom. Polycom manufactures
rubber compounds in slab and strip,
which are both supplied to external
customers and used by the AOF and
Superide divisions. It also serves many
diverse industries, including those
producing seals, gaskets and moulded
products for automotive market sectors.
AOF manufactures specialty rubber-
coated fabrics for industrial, leisure
and sportswear applications, where
reliability and technical performance are
required to meet rigid customer needs.
Superide produces single and double-
side rubber-coated fabrics for high-
performance industrialapplications.
FCF
In 2003, we established Fothergill
Coated Fabrics on a greenfield site.
FCF specialises in PTFE-coated fabrics,
tapes and process conveyor belts, using
Fothergill Polycom
In a quarter of
a century,
through hard
work by a
dedicated and
proud
workforce, we
have grown
this business
into a
conglomerate
with 300 staff
and a turnover
of £50 million
23FOTHERGILL ENGINEERED FABRICS |
INDUSTRY & PRODUCTION
glass and aramid fabrics woven at FEF
as its substrate raw material. Its coated
fabrics are supplied in rolls or converted
into fabricated items to exact customer
requirements. It serves industries
including aerospace, electronics, food,
floor coverings andpackaging.
Recent history
Just over a decade ago, I acquired Gay
O’Gara’s shares to take full control and
ownership of the business, marketing
the organisation from that point as
the Fothergill Group. In 2012 we
established Fothergill Australia Pty in
Melbourne, Australia, which distributes
the Fothergill range of products.
TBA
In 2017 we acquired TBA Protective
Technologies – a business that
has traded for 150 years – out of
administration, together with its
Australian subsidiary, which has
operations in Sydney and Brisbane.
UK production capabilities include
carding, yarn dref spinning, doubling
and coating, needlefelt, weaving,
aluminising, and braiding. The CAC
division expands TBA’s capability
to fabricate TBA products while
maintaining the quality of the final
products, which include high-
quality garments and fire-related
protectiveproducts.
TBA’s products provide fire and thermal
protection. The Firefly division specialises
in non-rigid flexible fire barriers for
construction and marine applications,
which prevent the spread of smoke,
flame and heat through walls and roof
voids, providing compartmentalisation.
Manufactured from glass fabrics, they
are easy to install horizontally and
vertically. They help to contain fire,
give building occupants extra time to
evacuate and enable the fire service to
enter safely. The Fothershield division
was created to further widen the
product offering, by providing a total
electromagnetic interference shielding
solutionspackage.
The future
In a quarter of a century, through
hard work by a dedicated and proud
workforce, we have grown this
business, in the Rochdale and Oldham
district of the North West, into a
conglomerate with 300 staff and a
turnover of £50 million. We have
moved on from being an SME and
taken our place among the world’s
large organisations.
We operate in an industry where
competition is fierce, and yet through
our innovation and research, we can
attain world-class EBITDA and bottom-
line percentages. The European Union,
with its open borders, has massively
helped our success and improved the
welfare of our workforce.
Any interference with free movement
of goods to and from the largest and
wealthiest economic block in the world
will have very serious consequences
not only for the Fothergill Group but
also for manufacturing throughout
the length and breadth of Britain.
We unequivocally and respectfully
emphasise upon the government the
importance of the industrial sector to
this country and consequentially ask
that they tread carefully.
We
unequivocally
and respectfully
emphasise upon
the government
the importance
of the industrial
sector to this
country
Fothergill Coated Fabrics

www.fothergillgroup.com

This article was sponsored by Fothergill Engineered Fabrics. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.