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Pilkington's brand is back

Published: 6 May 2011
Former Pilkington's Tiles ceo Ray Tarr is to re-launch the brand in the British market. UK manufacturing operations, however, will not re-open.
Pilkington's brand is back
The acquisition, which was completed in October last year and was funded through overseas investment from Polish businessman Michal Solowow, sees Mr Tarr return to the chief executive position, having been the incumbent before the firm entered administration last year.

The new company now owns all the Pilkington's Tiles worldwide trademarks and brands, except the Matrix wall tile brand, which was purchased by Topps Tiles in March this year.

Product will be back on retail shelves by July, said Mr Tarr, and is being manufactured in mainland Europe, making it more attractive for import purposes since the EU imposed a levy of up to 76% on porcelain tiles imported from China.

Since October 2010, the new company, Pilkington's Manufacturing Ltd, has invested in "major warehousing and distribution facilities, as well as working with our overseas factories in the design and developments of a comprehensive range of Pilkington's-branded ceramic, glazed and full-body porcelain [tiles]."

Commenting the decision to manufacture outside of the UK, Mr Tarr said: "We entered into constructive negotiations in July 2010 to take over Pilkington's existing manufacturing facilities in the UK, this resulted in a review of our business and the closing of the UK facilities, continuing our manufacturing operations and retaining key members of our UK team."

However, while the Swinton manufacturing site, which closed as part of the business collapse last year, will definitely not re-open, Mr Tarr has not ruled out a return to UK manufacture in the future. "We have an investment fund and would love to establish manufacturing again in Greater Manchester, subject to how the business progresses, because I know the skills are here.

"Pilkington's has still got legs. There is still demand for a premium UK brand."

Almost 400 people lost their jobs after the tile manufacturer went into administration in June last year citing cashflow problems and tough trading conditions.

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