Celebration of Devizes firm’s growth
Devizes MP Claire Perry returned to her roots when she officially opened the new headquarters of Devizes company United Oilseeds.
Mrs Perry revealed that, during her work experience while studying for a business management degree, she worked for the Cargill oilseed crushing plant in Bootle, Merseyside.
She told staff and directors: “So I have come full circle. I would like to thank you all for your commitment to Devizes.
“It is great to see a really thriving co-operative organisation in Devizes serving the farming community.”
She unveiled a brass plaque to mark the occasion.
United Oilseeds was set up as a farming co-operative in 1964 and has had several homes in Devizes over the years. It began in offices at Parnella House in the Market Place but in recent years it has rented accommodation at T H White’s premises on Nursteed Road.
The company has bought the former Red Cross Wiltshire headquarters at St James House in Gains Lane and Mrs Perry was invited to give it her stamp of approval.
Managing director Chris Baldwin said: “We employ a total staff of 30, 20 of whom are based here. We are a co-operative with 4,200 members across the UK. We supply them with seed and market the crop. We are responsible for 25 per cent of the country’s oilseed crop – that’s 550,000 tonnes a year.”
The company has a turnover of £242m a year and has a net worth of £6,850,000. Its trading members have shared in £2.5m over the past eight years.
Mr Baldwin said: “We are well represented in the export market and sell a large quantity of oil to Germany for use in their biodiesel. It is not economic to do that in this country but in Germany diesel producers are legally obliged to have a percentage of biodiesel in the diesel sold at the pumps.”
Most of the rapeseed oil produced by the company and its members is used in cooking.