‘Exciting times’ as company submits plans for growth

A KITCHEN furniture manufacturer hopes to expand its capacity by 50 per cent to take advantage of expected growth in its sector.

Paula Rosa Manhattan, in Blenheim Road, Lancing, has submitted a planning application to build a new warehouse and offices at its current base.

UK managing director Iain Flitcroft said the plans signalled ‘exciting times in an exciting market’.

He said: “The market is very strong, with all of our house-builder customers planning significant growth in output over the next two years.

“This, together with increasing market share, provides great opportunities for Paula Rosa – Manhattan.”

The plans come 18 months after Manhattan was acquired by Swedish firm Ballingslov International, which owned Storrington-based Paula Rosa.

The combined business this year boasts sales of more than £60 million but as part of the merger, it was decided a single-site operation was required.

Mr Flitcroft said: “An important decision in the merging of the two businesses was where to create our new, single site operation.

“We considered the Water Lane Paula Rosa site in Storrington but it is patently unsuitable both in terms of the site itself and the road infrastructure around it.

“We also considered a greenfield, new factory but, in the end, decided to invest at Lancing both in terms of floor space and plant and machinery and our lorry fleet.”

The old warehouse building immediately next to the existing Manhattan factory has been demolished and will be replaced with a new warehouse, linked to the existing factory by two tunnels.

Mr Flitcroft added: “Manhattan Furniture have not purchased the adjacent units. The adjacent units are owned by KC Office Furniture and the Pink Crate Company.

“The owner is re-developing a new warehouse for us as well as leasing some additional space to enable our expansion.”

Kitchen cabinets will be fed out of our new assembly lines through the tunnels directly into the new warehouse for loading.

“The other building will accommodate our worktop production and white goods storage. We are also developing a new set of open- plan offices at the front of that building.”

Ballingslov International, which now owns the Lancing business, is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the world, with turnover in excess of £350 million, Mr Flitcroft said.

In 2013, it approved a £9 million investment programme, for the provision of state of the art machinery.

The majority of the sum was invested in Paula Rosa Manhattan, including a brand new fleet of Volvo trucks with green technology.

Mr Flitcroft said: “Ballingslov operate on a really first class set of principles which appealed to and resonated with us as owners of Manhattan.”

Full details of the application, where comments can be made by the public, can be found by visiting www.adur-worthing.gov.uk

The application reference number is AWDM/0624/14.