Chesterfield tanning firm completes takeover

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A Chesterfield leather production group has acquired a West Midlands counterpart in a move said to have created the largest vegetable tannery group in the UK with sales of more than £6m.

Joseph Clayton & Sons, which has roots dating back to 1840, has taken over the assets and business of J&E Sedgwick & Company Ltd, a Walsall-based business founded in Birmingham in 1900 to make equestrian leathers.

Ian Walker, Claytons chairman and managing director, said: “While it is easy to see us as two very similar vegetable tanning units in fact our product ranges only have a narrow area of overlap.

“Claytons produce a wide range of bespoke leathers with a variety of end uses while Sedgwicks focus on bridle and saddlery leathers.

“This is not surprising given that Claytons have developed from an industrial leather background while Sedgwicks have developed out of an equestrian; our processes, leathers and customers are distinct.”

He added: “So this is not an exercise in consolidation but in growth for two long standing businesses.

“We are also pleased to be manufacturing in a location near Walsall, the important centre of UK saddlery and leather goods.”

The two businesses, which have a combined workforce of 60 staff, will continue to run as separate entities with individual management teams, although functions including finance, purchasing and sales will be coordinated.

Richard Farrow, managing director of Sedgwicks and grandson of one of the early owners, will remain in his role.