St Leonards company to create 40 new jobs

A company is planning to create new jobs in Hastings and St Leonards as part of an investment programme.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:30 pm
Penn Elcom is planning to create an extra 40 jobs SUS-210325-152339001

Penn Elcom, which has a site on the Ponswood Industrial Estate in St Leonards, said it is investing £3m in new machinery in its UK operations in the coming months.

As a result it is anticipating creating an extra 40 jobs at its factories in St Leonards and Washington in Tyne and Wear.

Penn Elcom makes steel-based products in the flight case component and 19-inch racking enclosure industries.

A flight case is a shipping container specifically built to protect musical instruments, motion picture equipment, audio and lighting production equipment, properties, or other sensitive equipment.

Despite the flight case component industry being severely hit by coronavirus restrictions, the company said it is gearing up for an expected surge in demand as events and international travel reopen.

Roger Willems, chairman, said: “Flight case components accounted for 70 per cent of our turnover prior to the pandemic, so the cancellation of concerts, live sports, exhibitions, events and travel had a major impact on our business.

“But we’re investing in modern machine tools in our UK operations to position us to maintain our global reputation as the world reopens, and to enable us to meet demand for the new products we have developed over the last year to meet shifting consumer behaviour.”

The company said its £3m investment over 12 months will enable Penn Elcom to increase capacity and employment at its two UK bases in Hastings and Washington in Tyne and Wear.

The drop in turnover as a result of coronavirus restrictions meant Penn Elcom had to scale back its workforce from a pre-Covid peak of 210 to 150, some of whom were furloughed.

The additional 40 staff will see the team approaching its pre-pandemic levels, the firm said.

Rob Platt, sales and marketing director, said: “As a British manufacturer, we are committed to growing our UK operations and labour force. Despite the challenges presented by Brexit, we believe the UK remains pivotal within our manufacturing expertise.”

The company said a gradual upturn in demand for 19-inch racking enclosure due to the surge in remote working, online shopping and video calls helped Penn Elcom through the pandemic.

Penn Elcom was set up in 1979, with 50 per cent of its sales being overseas.

Mr Platt added: “This £3m investment builds on our established infrastructure and expertise to enable us to be even more responsive and ensure consistently high standards and faster delivery times across our product range.”

* Got a story? Ring reporters Richard Gladstone on 07803 505794 or Stephen Wynn-Davies on 07393 754494.

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