Educational furniture manufacturer invests £3m in new Dumfries & Galloway facility

Gerard Toplass, CEO of British Thornton

Scottish educational furniture manufacturer, EME Furniture, has invested £3m in the significant expansion of its operations at its Sanquhar home in Dumfries & Galloway.

Now part of British Thornton, the UK’s largest group of educational furniture manufacturers, EME Furniture has substantially increased its manufacturing capacity through facilitating a move to larger premises, employing a significant number of new staff and investing in high-tech machinery.

Previously housed in two separate buildings totalling 35,000 square feet, the EME Furniture factory has moved to a single building of 115,000 square feet, trebling the floor space of its manufacturing facility.

EME Furniture is hoping to more than double the size of its workforce at the factory over the next three years, from 35 employees to 71, sourcing employees with a range of skills from welders and machine operators in production to project managers, site installation teams, estimators, space planners and designers.

The expansion is expected to provide a huge boost to EME Furniture’s turnover, which is projected to double in just three years, from £2.6m in 2015 to £5.5m in 2018. British Thornton, EME Furniture’s parent group, is expected to post a turnover of £35m in 2018, marking a 40 per cent increase on 2015’s figures of £25m.

Gerard Toplass, CEO of British Thornton, said: “We’re incredibly proud of EME Furniture’s history of designing and building products in Scotland and have been determined from the outset to support and grow this arm of the business. Scotland is a crucial area for us so it was a natural step to make such a big investment in our Sanquhar plant.

“The expansion of this plant will allow us to substantially increase capacity in line with the increased demand we’re seeing from both the Scottish and wider UK market. We’re confident that the investment in this plant will see the business go from strength to strength and continue to increase its market share in the British educational furniture market.

“We are pleased to underline our commitment to the Dumfries and Galloway region with this investment and to provide employment opportunities to people in the area. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council, who have been extremely helpful.”

Roughly half of the £3m spend on the factory relocation has been allocated to purchasing new equipment designed to increase productivity and improve the range of products that can be built at the factory. The plant currently manufactures a range of fixed furniture, loose storage units, classroom tables and upholstered seating.

EME Furniture has recently provided furniture for Robertson Construction’s £30m Harris Academy and Morrison Construction’s £20m Clyde Valley Campus.