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A West Yorkshire furniture manufacturer has come under a new ownership and management structure.

Shackletons of Dewsbury specialises in the manufacture of chairs and occasional furniture for the healthcare, hospitality and retail markets.

The business has been acquired by Anthony Ullmann, who becomes chairman and chief executive.

Ullmann previously co-founded Autofil Worldwide, a manufacturer of technically engineered yarns for the global automotive industry. At its peak, the company employed more than 200 staff at a state-of-the-art textile R&D and production plant in Nottinghamshire. It had annual sales of £45m.

Ullmann and his business partner sold the company to an Italian conglomerate in 2012 and he has ended his relationship with Autofil last year.

Shackletons of Dewsbury was bought from managing director Martyn Higgins, who will remain with the business to support

New members of the board include chief operating officer and finance director Andrew Allwood FCA, previously with PwC, ABI Caravans and Capita. Dave Allanson, formerly North West regional director of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, also joins as a non-executive director.

Sarah Thompson will continue to work on direct sales and supporting the regional sales managers.

Anthony Ullmann said: “Since ending my 23 year association with Autofil Worldwide I have been looking at a range of other opportunities, and in Shackletons I have found a renowned business built on solid traditions of quality craftsmanship from a talented and loyal workforce and excellent products and which I firmly believe has great potential for growth over the coming years.

“We aim to be a business that is proud of its famous heritage but one which is firmly focused on the future with a design-led, customer-focused approach that will produce high quality products and matching customer service standards to both contract and retail customers.”

Shackletons currently employs about 70 people at its Dewsbury plant. The company is aiming to increase sales by growing its healthcare, leisure and retail businesses as well as exploring additional opportunities for new sales channels.

Anthony Ullmann was advised on the transaction by Connect Yorkshire chairman Richard Moran and Sarah Harrison of Leeds law firm and Connect Yorkshire Partner Clarion and David Butterworth of Huddersfield accountancy firm Wheawill and Sudworth. Martyn Higgins was advised by Michael Crook of Wakefield law firm Crooks Commercial Solicitors and Nigel Bullas of accountancy firm BHP Clough.


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