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2020 / 2021 Edition

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COVID-19: Forterra to recommence some business operations

Stephen Harrison

Group provides update on plans for the reopening of a number of manufacturing facilities

FORTERRA plc, one of the UK’s leading producers of manufactured masonry products, have provided an update on the recommencement of their business operations.

Since the company’s announcement of 24 March 2020 in which it stated that Forterra would be suspending business operations until further notice, the Group has been planning alternative working practices that allow manufacturing facilities to operate whilst keeping employees safe and maintaining social distancing.

Working to the guidance from Public Health England and the Construction Leadership Council, Forterra have been able to continue manufacturing small volumes of precast concrete products to support essential public sector projects. In addition, the company has continued to service customer demand delivering its brick and block products from inventory.

Responding to news that house builders are to begin a phased reopening of building sites along with the reopening of many builder’ merchants, and having undertaken the necessary risk assessments, Forterra will relight the kiln at one of their brick manufacturing facilities this week ready to restart production. The company will also recommence production of hollowcore concrete flooring to service customer requirements.

Forterra say they expect to recommence production at two further facilities in May although, due to existing inventory levels, it is currently anticipated that the majority of their facilities will not resume manufacturing before the summer. Should demand increase at a faster rate than expected, however, the Group retains full flexibility to reopen facilities sooner.

Stephen Harrison, chief executive of Forterra, said: ‘This move means that we are able to support our house builder and merchant customers as they also begin the process of returning to work over the coming days and weeks, ramping up our production as required in response to inventory levels and market demand.

‘This return to business is encouraging and we must all adjust to new ways of working that ensure the safety of our staff and our customers, and the continued success of our industry.’

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