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Horse bedding firm sets out pounds 10m stall.

Byline: By Rebekah Ashby

Horse bedding manufacturer Bedmax is looking to almost double in size to pounds 10m turnover as it races to become the European market leader.

Northumberland-based Bedmax, which was formed six years ago by Tim Smalley and half-brother Chris Leyland, is aiming to fluff-up turnover ( from around pounds 5.5m currently to pounds 10m by 2010 ( by bedding down in a new factory in the South.

The company, which is headquartered out of a farm in Detchant, in Belford, North Northumberland, and operates a second factory in Newark, has produced around five and a half million bags of the dust-free bedding over the last six years.

The product ( which is endorsed by event riders, top racehorse trainers and was even slept on by the late Desert Orchid ( is exported as far afield as Luxembourg and Hong Kong.

Mr Smalley said: "We are aiming for pounds 10m sales in the next four years with the aim of being the leading bedding producers in Europe.

"We have fairly concrete plans to expand further south to take advantage of the supply of timber on the south coast and, whether we move into Europe in the future, I don't know, but it's certainly a possibility.

"Because we were first in [into the market for manufactured shavings], it's easier for us to stay in front."

The pair used to make dust-free horse forage Haymax but ceased production to concentrate on Bedmax when sales rocketed.

They spotted a gap in the market for pine shavings, harvested from renewable forests and not a by-product, after traditional horse shavings became too dusty. As factory machinery got faster ( shavings became smaller and dustier. Mr Smalley said: "At the time, the timber price was so low that we thought we could make a nice big flake and take away the dust. We had all the Haymax contacts, so we just made it and the customers seemed to like it.

"Our challenge now is that there is big demand for timber over in Europe and there are 13 power stations going up in Teesside, Lockerby etc, and we will all be competing for the same timber."

Export now accounts for around 10% of Bedmax sales and the business employs 27 staff across the two plants. A new 20,000sqft factory in the South would likely add another dozen people to its workforce, which began as just three.

Mr Smalley said: "I made dust free haylage for 13 years called Haymax and thought it was quite a good idea to make dust-free bedding, so we went to the US, Holland and Quebec to get the machines, stuck them together and luckily they all worked. We use quite a lot of consultants and have an incredibly loyal workforce and wouldn't have got anywhere without them."

The company is chaired by the former head of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Newcastle office Bill Teasdale.

with pic

* WORLD famous model maker Corgi has added a Bedmax truck to its Hauliers of Renown collection of miniature vehicles.

One 50th of the size of the real thing, the Corgi model comes complete with Bedmax's distinctive yellow and green curtain sides, a tilting cab, opening bonnet and windscreen wipers.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2007
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