Roadsweeper maker Scarab Sweepers in Marden targets 'untapped' overseas markets

A roadsweeper manufacturer is poised to begin trading in new overseas territories after a year of investment which soaked up profits.

Scarab Sweepers said it is in the “final preparations” to open up “untapped yet significant markets” and is already experiencing an upturn in orders.

It comes as its latest accounts reveal pre-tax profits fell 91% from £2.1 million to £176,000 as it restructured the business with new IT systems and introduced two new models.

Scarab Sweepers manufactures in Marden
Scarab Sweepers manufactures in Marden

Although turnover was down 8% to £28.4 million, the firm saw European sales increase by 44% to £7.9 million in the year to the end of September 2016, helped by the weakening of the pound since the EU referendum.

Bosses said the firm, which employs 225 people, has won significant contracts in the UK and abroad and they are planning further investment in the company’s production facility in Marden, near Maidstone.

It comes two years after it was forced to ditch plans to build a new headquarters at Waterside Park near Junction 8 of the M20, after the scheme was refused planning permission.

Management are working on new plans to cope with their expansion targets, including the option of growing the firm’s existing site.

Scarab managing director David Cassingham
Scarab managing director David Cassingham

This would bring the factory under a single roof and add a new office and visitor centre.

Managing director David Cassingham said: “There has been a lot of work by the whole Scarab team with a revised management structure and new products being well received by our customers.

“The recent changes in sterling exchange have also helped us to strengthen export sales and boost our order book which is a great position to hold especially for our staff.”

Scarab, which is owned by French construction company Fayat, saw operating profit fall by 90% to £203,000.

UK sales fell by 11% to £16.4 million and sales in the rest of the world fell 40% to £4 million.

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