Baxi Partnership was set up as a foundry in 1866 and remained in the Baxendale family for over a century. But in 1983, with no obvious successor, Philip Baxendale and his family decided to give the company to the employees via an employee share ownership scheme. The Preston-based company, which now specialises in manufacturing domestic boilers, currently has over 1,300 staff, who receive an average 12% of their salaries in profit share. Under Bryan Gray’s direction since 1993, Baxi has focused on making gas-fired heating boilers, winning more than a third of the UK market and doubling its EU market share to 11%. Profits have increased by 44% pa, from £3.5m in 1996 to £10.5m in 1999, while sales increased by 8% pa in the same period to £118.6m. Gray attributes this to productivity drives, cuts in variable costs, and a series of acquisitions. Baxi’s current output from five UK and European factories already stands at around 600,000 boilers per year. The company’s purchase of Blue Circle’s heating division for £480m in October 1999 suggests that this figure is set to rise.
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