Forest of Dean business Watts of Lydney Group turnover rise £40 million plus John Thurston trucks

More than 150 years in business has not dimmed the ambition behind one of the county’s longest running businesses, which has seen its turnover rise by 16 per cent. Once famous for its tyres, the Forest of Dean-based group now thrives in the sale of commercial vehicles, as well as running two specialist manufacturing companies.

Watts of Lydney Group sold Watts Tyres in 2009, which in the company’s own words allowed it to “concentrate on further strengthening its successful truck and van sales, service and parts business and its UK manufacturing companies”. It is this in particular which has led to the eye-catching turnover figure in its newly released annual result for the year to the end of December 2019.

Turnover was up from GBP34.6 million in 2017 and GBP40.1 million in 2018. Gross profit is stable at GBP6,242 (GBP6,217 in 2017). Watts also runs its urethane and plysolene businesses.

The former is based in Lydney and creates a number of products, including polyurethane wheels for mine clearance equipment in Afghanistan. Its Plysolene Ltd company is based in West Sussex. John Thurston, managing director of Watts Group, said: “The 16 per cent increase in sales is largely due to an increase in the volume of low margin truck sales partially offset by lower sales of higher margin products in Watts Urethane Products.”

“Early in 2018 the company suffered a sudden setback in the previous year’s record sales. The company has since reduced its overheads but incurred a substantial trading loss during the year. To date, 2019 has seen a very encouraging increase in sales and a return to profitability.”

He added: “Currently Watts Trucks have the leading market share in South Wales of over 30 per cent which is twice that of its nearest competitor. “These conditions may not continue forever, but the sustainability of the business is in after sales where we have an increased number repair and maintenance contracts for future years. “The high service levels provided to the customers were recognised by being awarded the DAF UK Dealer of the Year Award which is a tribute to the team’s hard work.

“The Swansea premises purchased in 2018 has now been substantially modified into a premium dealership with a hugely improved layout.

In due course the Cardiff depot will be reconfigured into a more efficient unit”

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