London-based Cannon AVENT transformed itself in the 1990s from an unfocused and barely profitable manufacturer into an award-winning company specialising in high margin branded products. Managing director Edward Atkin sidelined family management rivals in 1989 using venture capital from 3i and immediately began dropping old and unprofitable lines in footwear and household goods to focus on building a new and successful range of AVENT baby care and Cannon car accessory products. AVENT recently stormed world markets for baby milk-feeding products with its “Isis” breast pump, which won a 1997 Millennium Award. The company now controls 70% of the UK milk pump market, and 30% in the US. Innovative designs have enabled AVENT to charge premium prices and have driven up profits by 35% pa from £3.1m in 1995 to £7.5m in 1998. In the same period, sales rose 13% pa to £52.8m.
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