Camira Group Ltd

Camira chairman and chief executive officer Steve Bullas with group finance director Nick Brown

A company supplying fabrics for bus and train seats and office furniture is on the route for further expansion.

Now Camira Group Ltd, which has manufacturing operations at Meltham and premises at Mirfield, is gearing up to boost turnover by landing more contract and transport business at home and abroad.

The privately-owned UK textile group, formed as Camborne Fabrics in 1974, became Camira in 2006 following a management buy-out from American parent Interface Inc.

In 40 years of trading, the firm has grown into a multi-million pound concern designing and making fabrics for offices, colleges and universities, conference rooms and public transport and exporting to about 70 countries worldwide.

Camira, which has 645 employees, has supplied Huddersfield University, Yorkshire Tiger Buses, Leeds First Direct Arena, BBC MediaCity UK and projects further afield for clients including Swiss Rail, Melbourne Metro, Russian State Railways and blue-chip companies such as PwC, Barclays and HSBC.

The company designs, manufactures and distributes fabrics from stock while careful control of its own manufacturing has enabled Camira to maintain and consolidate key differentiators such as speed of delivery, quality assurance, customer service and environmental performance.

Its expertise goes from wool yarn, spinning and polypropylene extrusion to wool package dyeing, warping, weaving, textile finishing, technical knitting and specialist cutting and sewing to create finished component covers. Camira has also developed partnerships with local firms such as Holmfirth Dyers and WT Johnson.

Exports now account for 60% of turnover with Camira notching up sales to all 28 EU member countries as well as North America, Asia Pacific and Turkey.

High profile wins include supplying Marks & Spencer with a wool flax fabrics called Flaxwold for the retailer’s Plan A Abbey sofa, upholstering all 13,500 seats at the Leeds First Direct Arena, supplying TSB Bank on its exit from Lloyds Banking Group and ongoing work to furnish seating fabrics for 600 Routemaster buses.

Continental Sports Ltd

Managing director of Continental Sports based in Paddock, Nick Booth (right) with production manager, Max Green (centre) and Richard Cooper of the drawing office with some of the equipment which they have supplied for the BBC TV programme Tumble.
Managing director of Continental Sports based in Paddock, Nick Booth (right) with production manager, Max Green (centre) and Richard Cooper of the drawing office with some of the equipment which they have supplied for the BBC TV programme Tumble.

A firm celebrating 50 years in business has grown to achieve international status in the field of sport.

Paddock-based Continental Sports Ltd was founded by Stanley Booth in 1964 to manufacture sports equipment for local boys’ clubs. As other clubs saw Stanley’s handiwork, they asked him to make equipment for them, too.

Today, the family firm is the only manufacturer of Olympic gymnastics equipment in the UK. The firm is also official competition apparatus supplier to the UK governing body of the sport, British Gymnastics, and one of only eight apparatus partners of the worldwide governing body of athletics, the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique.

The company has grown to provide traditional gym equipment, PE equipment, trampolining equipment, sports hall equipment, changing room furniture and lockers – all manufactured at the firm’s Millgate factory and installed throughout the UK by its team of in-house installation engineers.

Managing director Nick Booth said: “Reaching the milestone of our 50th anniversary is a great achievement by a family-owned manufacturing business and something of which we are very proud.”

Recent highlights for the company have included providing the sports hall equipment for Huddersfield University’s new sports hall and supplying gymnastics equipment for the BBC’s entertainment programme Tumble.

Continental Sports was also chosen by the operator of the “Cpperbox” venue at London’s Olympic Park to convert it from a handball arena to a multi-sports arena and provide equipment for sports including basketball, netball, handball, volleyball, badminton and other sports.

It has also developed a range of equipment for freestyle gymnastics which has been installed in numerous facilities across the Uk to allow young people to practice parkour in a safe indoor environment.

As well as its UK work, Continental Sport has also fitted out a prestigious international school in Armeniawith sports equipment and changing room furniture.

Mr Booth said the company continued to innovate – launching a range of early years soft play equipment under the brand SoftPlayGym and was partnering several European manufacturers of niche high-performance sports equipment.

While the recession had led to government cuts in spending on school building projects and the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme had affected the firm, spending was increasing again and would bring an upturn in business in that sector during 2015.

Nearer to home, Mr Booth said the company was excited about the new Huddersfield sports centre, having been working with the architect and builder on the scheme.

Mr Booth said: “We are very open with our advice and technical input. We have a genuine reputation for providing help.”

Specialist Glass Products Ltd

They’re a glass act.

Specialist Glass Products Ltd, based at Milnsbridge, was set up just 11 years ago by its three directors. Now it employs 62 people at its Colne Vale Road premises supplying curved and flat toughened laminated glass for prestigious projects including The Shard as well as Somerset House, King’s Cross Station and Cambridge University.

It also works with architects to supply glass for shopfronts, shower screens, balustrades, stair treads and flooring, balconies and partitions.

The firm has expanded from its original 3,000sq ft premises to occupy about 30,000sq ft of space and has plans to add another 22,000sq ft to further expand its production facilities – a move which will also mean recruiting additional personnel.

Director Andrew Taylor said: “Since 2003, we have grown to become the leading producer of curved glass in the UK. We have invested in machinery and people to ensure we are the only UK producer of certain curved glass products.”

Mr Taylor added: “Our company has gone through many changes in a relatively short life, having to adapt to change. We believe we have been able to do this by ensuring we have the best possible people in all positions within the business.

“We have and will continue to invest in staff development as well as investing in machinery to ensure we are the best in what we do and that our service levels are second to none.”

Specialist glass Products has automated its glass cutting line as well as adding new CNC equipment and has moved into newly-built offices to create a better working environment for staff.

In the past 12 months, the firm has put all its team leaders through relevant leadership training and has strengthened its workplace training and health and safety systems.

Mr Taylor said: “The company has grown in strength and profitability year on year, particularly in extremely demanding and difficult market conditions due to the recession through the development of existing staff, by adding experienced professional persons into key positions and through investment in specialist equipment and machinery.”

He added: “In a demanding market place, we believe that we provide the best quality products available in a time to meet our customers’ demands.”