GIVEN THE state of manufacturing industry in general and the textiles industry in particular, it is somewhat surprising to find a company such as Rochdale Textile Supplies in the higher reaches of the Deloitte & Touche Indy 100. However, chairman Peter Stock says the company (which is placed fourth in our table) has achieved the distinction largely through fixing on a particular market and investing heavily in both plant and people.
The result is that a company that started out about 20 years ago - in Stock's words - dabbling in areas such as snooker tables and replacement towelling handle wraps for squash rackets has grown into a business employing 200 people in the UK and Europe.
Stock is not one to advertise the success of a company that he insists has achieved much of its 207.5 per cent compound annual growth rate over four years through acquisitions rather than organic expansion. He does, however, attribute the start of the rise of the business to a deal that took place 16 years ago.
What he calls "the really significant move" came in 1985, when he bought a company called Pincroft. A dyer and printer of textiles for workwear (the clothes worn by people working in factories and other places where they are liable to get dirty), it had a turnover of just pounds 4.3m in 1986, the first full year under his ownership.
The two businesses continued to run separately until 1998, when Stock made an even bigger purchase, Carrington Courier and Workwear, which brought an additional turnover of about pounds 34m. After a series of share changes, Rochdale Textile Supplies, a private company in which Stock is the majority shareholder, ended up as the holding company. …