Cushion maker Caldeira returns to profit and hopes for US post-Brexit deal

Knowsley-based Caldeira, which exports to more than 20 countries, was founded as a stall on Great Homer Street Market in Liverpool by entrepreneur Tony Caldeira. Tony McDonough reports

Tony Caldeira
Tony Caldeira, founder of cushion manufacturer Caldeira

 

Merseyside cushion manufacturer Caldeira has finally returned to profitability after a turbulent few years.

Knowsley-based Caldeira, which exports to more than 20 countries across the world, was founded as a stall on Great Homer Street Market in Liverpool in 1991 by entrepreneur Tony Caldeira, who has also stood for the Conservative party in both parliamentary and mayoral elections.

After a successful first few years the company endured a period of losses following problems with a joint venture in China, the failure of high street subsidiary, Fabric Warehouse, which cost Caldeira several million pounds, and the collapse of retail chain BHS, its biggest customer.

In March 2016 the Mr Caldeira secured a £1.25m financing facility with specialist lending and savings bank Aldermore and embarked on a turnaround strategy that has finally seen the firm return to profit.

In its latest accounts for the year to June 30, the business is reporting profits of just under £500,000 from sales of around £7m. UK sales were up 15% and domestic sales were exceeded for the first time by those in its key US market.

The  profits have been re-invested in the business and used to repay debts to strengthen the company’s balance sheet. Mr Caldeira said: “The great young team here at Caldeira has worked extremely hard to help improve margins and the performance of the business around the world.

“This has enabled the company to complete its turnaround and return to profitability. I’m also proud that for the first time, Caldeira has sold more products in the US than it has in the UK – God bless America.”

With the rise in the company’s exports to North America, Mr Caldeira is hoping that the UK can do a trade deal quickly with the US following Brexit. He added: “At the moment our US customers are paying an extra 7% duty on our products.

“If there is a trade deal between the UK and US, this duty could be removed which will make our cushions even more competitive. For Caldeira, this would lead to more sales in America and more jobs here in Merseyside.

“The sales team is currently in our New York showroom for an event called the New York Home Textiles Market. I’m sure they would be coming back with even more orders, which would be shipped through the port of Liverpool, if the duty was removed.”

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