ercolEdwardRomanaHeritage furniture brand Ercol is to make a major investment in machinery at its Buckinghamshire factory as it looks to build on another year of strong growth.

The Princes Risborough manufacturer grew sales by 9.8 per cent to £15m in the year to end December, an increase on the 8.5 per cent top line growth achieved the previous year.

In October, Ercol will take delivery of a new £300k 5-axis CNC machine, the first of several to be installed over the course of the next two years.

“This latest technology will give us much greater flexibility, with quick set-up times and the ability to manufacture in small batches,” chairman Edward Tadros, pictured, told the Furnishing Report.

“It is important to be light of foot and quick to adapt.”

He added that Ercol’s Romana and Bosco living and dining cabinet range had been particularly strong sellers during the year as it continued to build out sales, buoyed further by international growth.

Pre-tax profits declined to £113,000k (2014: £460,000) as it invested more on advertising, retail support and taking the brand overseas.

“Internationally, we have shown in Paris, Milan and New York, and next year we will do so again but also additionally go to exhibit in Cologne,” Mr Tadros said.

Cash flow before stock changes was strong with the privately owned business ending the year with net cash of £1.5m (2013: £1.87m) as it closed 2014 with £2.3m worth of inventory (2013: £1.7m) on its books.

Year-end shareholder funds climbed to £18.2m (2013: £18.1m).