Car upholstery firm goes hell for leather ahead of factory opening

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CAr upholstery specialist Bridge of Weir Leather revealed an “outstanding” performance with a 30 per cent boost in sales and profits last year ahead of the opening of a new factory that has nearly doubled its capacity.

The company hailed “an exceptionally busy period of product launches” in the year to the end of March, as accounts were posted to Companies House revealing £70.1 million in sales, while pre-tax profits rose to £4.6m from £3.5m.

The sumptuous yet eco-friendly leather hides produced by the Renfrewshire firm, part of the privately owned Scottish Leather Group, are featured in top-of-the-range cars including the latest Range Rover Evoque special edition whose interior was designed in collaboration with Victoria Beckham.

In September, Bridge of Weir opened a £2m plant ahead of an expected upturn in demand from China. The company has a joint venture to supply the new Chinese maker of Volvos, after car giant Ford sold the Swedish marque to Zhejiang Geely.

The number of employees at the site rose from 217 to 255 in the year. The company’s highest paid director received £92,113, up from £88,391 in 2011.

The history of the Scottish Leather Group stretches back to 1758. Last year the Paisley-headquartered group, owned by the Muirhead and Lang families, made an £8.7m profit on group sales of £119.3m. The group also includes airline and cruise ship upholstery business Andrew Muirhead & Son, the NCT Leather and WJ & W Lang tanneries, and SLG Technology.

Bridge of Weir Leather has been in business since 1905.