Unicorn Group Annouce Purchase…
FHS Group

Lisburn based manufacturer, Unicorn Group, are delighted to annouce the expansion of operations by purchasing specialist steel manufacturer PF Copeland Ltd and PFC Rainwater Systems Ltd, which employ 21 staff at their premises in Mallusk. Established 20 years ago, Unicorn Group employs 85 staff and this acquisition will increase staff numbers by 25% to 106 employees.

Unicorn Group is a conglomerate which manufactures a wide range of high-quality products including medical and recycling bins, washroom products, vending machines and floor tiles. The company exports to 42 countries worldwide with core markets being the UK, Europe, Middle East, India and South America.  The Group has recorded a sales increase of 28% in the last two years.

PF Copeland is amongst Ireland's leading metal fabricators, specialising in stainless steel and mild steel fabrications. Products include tanks and silos for dairies, food processing and manufacturing companies, distilleries, breweries and bakeries. 

PFC Rainwater Systems Ltd provides a wide range of services and rainwater products for the construction industry in aluminium, cast aluminium, cast iron, galvanised steel and stainless-steel products.

Discussing the acquisition, Roger Pannell, Managing Director of Unicorn Group, says: "PF Copeland is a well-established company with a strong reputation for excellence in engineering. We recognise the strength of the PF Copeland brand and look forward to building on the company’s success to date and its proud heritage by exploring further business opportunities.”

Peter Bloomfield, Finance Director, PF Copeland Ltd, welcomes the announcement: "PF Copeland Ltd is a third-generation company and we are extremely proud of our heritage. This acquisition by Unicorn Group provides a great opportunity for the business in terms of accessing new markets.

"Unicorn Group is committed to keeping business in Northern Ireland and there is a natural synergy between the services that PF Copeland Ltd and PFC Rainwater Systems provide and those that Unicorn Group offers.  Essentially, the acquisition will extend Unicorn Group's product portfolio, while the PF Copeland Ltd and PFC Rainwater Systems brands will be able to access new opportunities. It really is a very exciting time for the company and our loyal and committed staff.”

Roger Pannell from Unicorn Group continues: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the excellent staff right across the Unicorn Group business for all of their efforts growing sales globally. Everyone from production and accounts to customer service and stores’ staff play a vital role in supporting the sales team.  We are continuing to expand and will be creating additional opportunities for ambitious individuals who wish to be part of a thriving Northern Ireland business firmly established on the international stage."

Discussing future plans, Mr Pannell says: “Since it was established 20 years ago Unicorn Group has acquired seven separate trading businesses across the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Spain. We have made great strides to improve our brand and product recognition globally and the results are evident with entry into over a dozen new markets in the last three years."

Unicorn Group is interested in acquiring part or whole businesses in the B2B sector and is particularly interested in businesses exporting products they manufacture or own the design rights to B2B technology companies. It is also interested in profitable trading businesses and those that are no longer core to operations or where the owner is planning to retire.

Mr Pannell explains the Group's strategy and how it is delivering success: "Unicorn Group’s export strategy focuses on three strategic elements; expanding and growing existing distributors, exploring new markets and product diversification. This approach has resulted in an overseas sales increase of 96% over the last three years. 60% of the company’s products are now exported across non-UK markets.”

Unicorn Group’s most recent acquisition was in 2016 when the Group acquired an established interlocking flooring company in Belgium transferring production from its facility in Spain to Northern Ireland. Its growth trajectory led the group to decide to make a major investment in 2017 and move its existing manufacturing sites in Lisburn and Markethill to the former Coca-Cola site in Lambeg comprising industrial, storage and office facilities totalling 17.5 acres.

In April 2018 The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise announced Unicorn Flooring as recipient of the award for International Trade - Excellence in Export 2018. The awards are billed as the UK’s most prestigious business awards, recognising and celebrating business excellence across the UK.  Unicorn Flooring demonstrated outstanding growth in overseas sales with steep year-on-year increases over 3 years. 

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