Qualceram doubles its plant capacity


Qualceram, the sanitary ware manufacturer, has doubled its capacity following the purchase of the Noritake manufacturing premises in Arklow, Co Wicklow, for £850,000. The 153,000 sq ft premises has been vacant for a number of years, and is adjacent to Qualceram's existing plant.

The purchase represents £5.60 per square foot and is quite good value, according to Mr John O'Loughlin, group managing director.

The purchase will be funded from Qualceram's existing resources. It had net cash of more than £2 million at the interim stage and this would have been boosted still further by cash-flow, so it will remain cash rich after the premises has been paid for. The premises had been used as Noritake's fine bone china manufacturing plant, which ceased operations a number of years ago and will be used to expand Qualceram's ceramics division.

It will also house the company's acrylic bath plant which is "performing extremely well", according to Qualceram. The new premises "will facilitate considerable expansion of the bath manufacturing operation", said Mr O'Loughlin. "We also intend to use the new premises to consolidate our warehousing and distribution operations under one roof, thus improving the quality of service".

Qualceram had rented part of the premises, about 20,000 sq ft. It would now "use a substantial amount fairly quickly", Mr O'Loughlin said.

He reiterated the group's intention to expand into complementary areas and to set up a depot in Dublin to service its growing market. The setting up of a Dublin depot is now a "prime focus".

Qualceram gained a share quotation in Dublin and London last April and it recorded an 8 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £823,000 in the six months to June 30th 1997.