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Barnsley company plans to “bag” Europe

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A Barnsley company which manufactures food packaging used in major supermarkets is looking to increase its European exports.

PBS Packaging, which makes seven million plastic bags a week, has just translated its website into Polish and Russian, and is working with business support programme Enterprising Barnsley to move into other countries, such as Germany and Sweden.

The company, which has its headquarters at Wombwell, wants to increase overseas sales from ten per cent of its turnover to 40 per cent.

It already has markets in several European countries, including France, Italy, Holland, Malta and Poland, where it has a factory.

Turnover is up from £3m last year to £4m this, with a projected target of £5m for the coming year.

The plastic bags, called wicketted bags, are specially designed for the automated packing of food, including sliced bread and fresh produce.

Clients are mainly bakeries and food growers, with the bags found on the shelves of major supermarkets and other high street chains in the UK.

PBS Packaging is also looking at moving into supplying bespoke postal bags for mail order companies and online retailers.

Director Howard Fearnley, who set up the business seven years ago, said:

“These really are exciting times for the company.

“We have built a solid market here in the UK with the food bags and now we can move into new markets and new products.

“There is so much potential in Europe.

“I have just come back from visiting Sweden and Germany, and Russia could also be a massive market for us too.

“So we are really looking at a very bright future.”

Enterprising Barnsley helped PBS Packaging find their premises at Waterside Park, Wombwell, after the company outgrew a unit at Shortwood Business Park, at Hoyland.

It has also helped with branding and marketing advice and have given staff export coaching.

Howard added:

“The help from Enterprising Barnsley has been tremendous.

“They have identified what we need to do to grow and like a chess player they have put the pieces in the right place.”

Shaun Higginbottom, from Enterprising Barnsley, said:

“The company has some big plans for the future and these are built on a very solid business base.

“It just shows with the right support businesses can grow, even in difficult economic times.”

Enterprising Barnsley is delivered by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and offers a wide range of free business support to small and medium-sized businesses of all sizes with growth potential.

The programme is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

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Howard Fearnley

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