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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Candle firm aims for national glory

A LINDAL company is set to go head-to-head with a revolutionary brewery for a place in the finals of a national competition.

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MIKE ARMSTEAD

Wax Lyrical, in Lindal, is the sole Cumbrian company to be named as a finalist in the North and Scotland category of the HSBC Global Connections competition.

The home fragrance firm is the biggest candle manufacturer in the UK and has been shortlisted after being transformed from manufacturing 45 per cent of its products in South Cumbria, to manufacturing 85 per cent.

When chairman Mike Armstead took over the firm in 2006 it had debts of £14m and was losing £5.5m a year; now it is turning a profit and exports goods to more than 40 countries.

The firm is up against irreverent Scottish brewers Brew Dog, Evolution Power Tools, Joseph Rhodes Limited, Argent Energy and Cygnet Group.

Two finalists will be named at a regional final on February 26 in Manchester and 10 companies from across the country will then compete in the national final.

Mr Armstead said: “Nowadays it’s not surprising for a firm to move towards UK manufacture but in 2007 we were swimming against the tide.

“The team here deserve the recognition.”

Last year Mr Armstead was named as businessman of the year at the CN Business Awards and says he is a quietly confident about his company’s chances.

Mr Armstead will outline the company’s case in a presentation at the finals which outlines the way Wax Lyrical balanced the books in 2006, “eating out of the freezer” to get rid of stock before manufacturing surplus and the transition to licensed goods and making the majority of their goods in the UK.

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