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Retained profit at Woollard & Henry £520,000

EMPLOYEE-OWNED manufacturer Woollard & Henry has reported a retained profit of more than £520,000.

The Aberdeen company, founded in 1873 and owned by its staff since 2002, is best known for making the dandy roll machines which allow paper to be watermarked for things such as bank notes, passports and cheques.

It is also involved in design and fabrication works for components, pipes and personnel transfer devices for the energy sector.

Around 70% of its sales are overseas and it has won awards for its export strategy, which covers more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

An abbreviated financial document lodged at Companies House show the profit and loss account on the balance sheet going from £3.3 million to in excess of £3.8m. That resulted in a total retained profit of £523,184 in the 12 months to March 31 this year.

The company's cash dipped from almost £1.6m to £1.04m but net assets grew from £2.7m to more than £3.1m.

Turnover figures were not available but Woollard & Henry has previously said its sales had grown from £900,000 at the time of the employee buy-out to £5.5m by September last year.

Staff numbers were said to have more than doubled in the decade to stand at 46 by last autumn.

Managing director Fred Bowden holds a meeting each week to brief staff on any updates to the sales pipeline, quotations for contracts and the financial position of the business.

Woollard & Henry, which also has an office in Frankfurt, Germany, had faced closure before the deal for staff to take over was signed.

Mr Bowden led the buy-out in 2002, with £1.1m of support from Baxendale Partnership, which saw the then-owner Alistair Henry, a son of one of the founding directors, retiring.

Mr Bowden - who also acts as an employee ownership ambassador on behalf of the publicly funded Co-operative Development Scotland - has said absence rates at Woollard & Henry are lower now the company is employee-owned, while productivity has increased. The initial loan from Baxendale was paid off in 2010.

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