Sapphire Energy Recovery Acquires Willow Tyres
Sapphire Energy Recovery is securing a reliable source of end of life tyres through the acquisition of a regular supplier. The company intends to purchase Surrey based Willow tyres following the announcement that founder and current owner Ray Bates plans to retire later this year.
“Willow has been a long trusted and reliable supplier of around 1.4 million tyres a year to Sapphire, and it was important to us that we could maintain that security of supply despite Ray’s retirement,” explained Clive Roberts, who is supply chain manager for Sapphire Energy Recovery.
“After 30 years in the business it does feel hard to say goodbye, but I’m pleased that Willow has found a good home with Sapphire and wish it all the very best for the future,” said Ray Bates, who will be staying on with the business until November 2009 to ensure a smooth transition. “The time was right for me to sell as I look forward to enjoying my retirement, but it was important to me when I looked at the options that the business could continue to thrive and my employees could continue in their roles too.”
Willow tyres currently operates two depots, one in Lingfield, Surrey and the other at Sapphire’s processing facilities in Thurrock, Essex. The casings side of the Willow Tyres business will continue to trade at the Lingfield and Thurrock sites under the ownership of Joe Bates, Ray’s son, ensuring the Willow name will remain. Drivers working for Willow and the collection vehicles used will transfer to Sapphire Energy Recovery as of July 1 2009, with vehicles currently operating under Willow eventually being rebranded.
“I’m very proud of what we have built as a family business, and pleased that its future now lies with such a forward looking and ambitious company,” continued Bates. “I’m also pleased that the Willow name will carry on through my son’s side of the business.”
Willow Tyres currently serves a network of tyre retail outlets in the South East, supplying tyres to a number of processing companies. Sapphire’s Clive Roberts says he sees no reason for that to change despite the new ownership.