Spartal Limited

Specialist aluminium tube manufacturer

‘Furloughed employees are having their wages topped up to 100%. Nobody is losing out’

Spartal Limited is a specialist aluminium tube manufacturer, based in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. It has a turnover of £1m–£1.5m and has 14 employees.

The company’s Managing Director, Richard Evans, explained that while it has continued to manufacture, it has had to furlough half of the production workforce. He said: “Some of our customers provide parts to ventilator machines. Other customers provide parts for defence manufacturers that have been specifically told by the government to stay open. Other customers have continued to manufacture and require our tubes for their activity.”

He said Spartal emailed its bank early on to understand what its options were and got good clarification. Evans said: “I have weekly communication with my accountant to review cash flow and options. The accountant is also managing furlough repayments, and all the feedback we have had has been useful.”

The company has not yet applied to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) but “we will probably apply for CBILS”, said Evans. “My accountant has been successful gaining funds through the banks and is confident that if/when I apply I will also be successful.”

Regarding the furloughed staff members, Evans said: “We sent letters in advance. We chose those to be furloughed based on a number of factors, including those people that have family members who need protecting at home. There was no problem with the choices. Those still working recognise they are doing it to keep the company surviving. Those at home also recognise this and will be very supportive of the company when they get back to work. Furloughed employees are having their wages topped up to 100%. Nobody is losing out.”

He added: “Office staff have split operating half time at home and half time in the office. This is working well.”

So are social distancing measures possible at Spartal Limited? Evans said: “We have a large work area and are already social distancing at work. In the office we have half in and half working from home each day. We can work with all our workforce and still maintain over two metres between people. 

“Companies should be encouraged to keep working to keep supply chains operating effectively although it is recognised that some sectors will take a long time to move back to previous normality.”

Evans said that production activity is unlikely to change, and that there is no necessity for office staff to work from home in normal times, but he added that “is good to be able to do that when necessary”.

Regarding the medium term, he said he did not expect the marketplace in which Spartal operates to change. He said: “We operate in a wide number of sectors providing specialist tube. Some customers will take longer to get back to previous levels, like our display stand customer, but others have continued to operate at the same level and others, such as our ventilator parts manufacturers, have been at a much higher level.”

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