Cornwall Group has committed to spending £20 million in new property, new machinery, specialist fleet vehicles, and other new equipment over the next two years.

Cornwall Group, which includes Cornwall Glass Manufacturing, Mackenzie Glass, and our commercial glazing and retail arm Cornwall Glass & Glazing, has secured additional finance via its bank to enhance a stable base from which to grow further.

“We have always invested in bricks and mortar, and we are confident that this approach is the best way to continue building a business that is fit for the next generation of glass professionals,” Cornwall Group’s Chairman Mark Mitchell said. “We’ve worked with our bank for 25 years, and we know that this model of investment for us works and is sustainable over a tried and tested period.”

Mark said that other finance options are typically short-term models of investment, which don’t currently complement Cornwall Group’s own long-term view of the industry.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of private equity in recent years, as investors targeted the UK glass market as a safe bet financially,” he said. “Now that returns are narrowing, will they try to fatten those companies up for sale, or even look to float them on the AIM?

“We, on the other hand, plough our profits back into the business, into people, machinery and buildings. We’ve got a very simple shareholder model, and we want to continue to grow a sustainable business, not one driven by short-term growth.

“And we know this model works. During the pandemic, when we saw some glass companies go into hibernation as they ran out of supply, we were able to keep vital products supplied to our customers. That was thanks to continued investment on our part and a commitment that went beyond a short-term profit-and-loss view of the market, along with partnering with the right suppliers, of course.”

Recent investment includes: a new fire saw, cutting line, and bevelling and processing equipment at Mackenzies; a new heat soak oven at the company’s site in Plymouth, which can handle large units up to 4.2m x 2.7m; and a new £1.5m Bystronic Sealed Unit Line at our St Austell site, which replaces a similar line that was installed 20 years ago.

“We have a rolling ten-year plan,” Mark said. “We are not driven by short term gain, like many private equity firms, so we have more money to invest back in the business. But this means always looking one step ahead to make sure that next piece of machinery or strategic investment is the right one.

“I think we are generally a cautious business, but you need to invest in the very best machinery – which need replacing when they come to the end of their natural life. And Cornwall Group’s policy is to invest in buildings, rather than take out, in some cases, onerous leases.

“And this approach we strongly feel will keep us going for the next generation.”

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