A trailer firm has been hailed as a world leader and as a role model to other businesses in North Wales.
The praise for Ifor Williams Trailers came from Guto Bebb, Under Secretary of State for Wales, who admitted he had not appreciated the scale of the operation until he went to on a visit.
As well as being sold through a network of 50 UK distributors, the award-winning trailers are exported all over the world.
The company has distributors as far afield as Australia and New Zealand – not to mention the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the West Indies, Japan and Africa.
Ifor Williams Trailers are one of the leading horsebox manufacturers in France and Belgium.
Germany is expected to soon become their number one export country – with Scandinavian countries like Norway and Denmark being growth areas.
Mr Bebb, the MP for Aberconwy, said: “Growing up in North Wales I was always aware of Ifor Williams Trailers, after all you see so many trailers and horse boxes with the distinctive Ifor Willams Trailers blue logos on our roads.
“However, until I visited the Deeside assembly plant I never fully appreciated the scale of the operation.
“It’s an amazing internationally focused business and it’s clear the firm richly deserves to be recognised as Europe’s leading trailer maker.
“In fact, it’s a world leader, and helps show that North Wales, as a region, isn’t just some sort of business backwater.
“There are innovative and highly successful companies, and Ifor Williams Trailers is a prime example, that are adding a great deal to the region’s economy and providing a great many much-needed jobs in the process.”
He added: “I have been particularly impressed with the attention to detail and the investment in staff, training and the design and manufacture of the many products that are produced.
“It really is important people understand what Ifor Williams Trailers means as an employer to North Wales and the wider region.
“This is a first class business with a highly skilled workforce producing world class products. I have no doubt that it will continue to be successful growing sales both in the UK and internationally.”
Rob Small, the company’s Head of Assembly Operations at both Deeside and Corwen, said: “We have a distribution presence in all the major mainland European countries as well as in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. In recent years we have seen particularly strong sales in Northern Europe particularly Germany and Scandinavia.
“We are always looking at new and innovative designs and continue to develop new products. For example, a few years ago we designed a horse box with personal living space at the front called the Eventa
“This we developed into our ‘business in a box’ concept and new innovative bespoke products such as workshop trailers or even a barber’s shop trailer with a waiting room at the front.
“That led us into producing a bespoke catering trailer of exceptional quality that can be fitted out with any equipment to suit a customer’s particular preference. It’s opening up new and important markets for us as a company. “
Business development manager Peter Nesbitt thanked Mr Bebb for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit them.
He said: “We are proud of what we do and it’s always good to be able to host stakeholders and show them the passion we have for our products.
“It’s an opportunity to give people an outline of the range of products we manufacture and the employment opportunities we are able to offer.”
He added: “It’s good to be able to demonstrate what goes on behind the scenes before we get anywhere near manufacturing a new product.
“We do all the design work when it comes to new products and our trailers are rigorously tested to ensure their quality and durability.
“It’s important every part of the manufacturing process is known to our stakeholders if we are to continue to make the important contribution we do to the region’s economy.”