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2024 Exhibitor Press Releases

A view of the Hillhead show ground from the western end of the quarry

17 Apr 2024

UK economy ‘on the cusp of better times’

UK economy ‘on the cusp of better times’
McHale Plant Sales were appointed only one year ago to represent Finnish crushing and screening equipment manufacturer Metso in the UK market

It is not every day that a supplier to the UK quarrying and aggregates business has the optimism to view recent developments in the industry as a bellwether of better things to come – in this instance, the belief that the UK economy is on the cusp of better times ahead. But this is what Hillhead exhibitor McHale Plant Sales are predicting, prompted by what they say is ‘an emerging desire on the part of customers to upgrade equipment inventories’.

Appointed only one year ago to represent Finnish crushing and screening equipment manufacturer Metso in the UK market, the Tamworth- and Edinburgh-based distributor has been busy on numerous fronts. First priority was to equip themselves with premises and all the other start-up requirements needed to fully represent such a global player and respected manufacturer. Next came the challenge to recruit the personnel necessary to provide quality after-sales parts and service support across England, Scotland, and Wales.

Commenting on McHale’s progress from what he describes as ‘a standing start’, business development director Darragh O’Driscoll says: ‘From a blank canvas, we are exceedingly happy with the picture that is emerging.’ Prominent in that picture is a notable sales performance, which he summarizes as ‘a better-than-expected beginning’.

Believing that investment in equipment heralds increased activity in the construction, civil works, and related fields, McHale take the view that sales which they alone have made, provide what both they and Metso believe is a better outlook for the UK economy and the promise of more stable conditions and growth on the economic, business, and employment fronts.

To date, major sales have seen Metso crushers delivered to customers from Cornwall to Kent, and from Wales to South Yorkshire, with deals currently in negotiation, including others in Wales and in Scotland.

Amongst McHale’s latest cohort of customers are some of the leading operators in the UK quarrying and aggregates business – including US, Ireland, and UK giants Breedon, and Ruthin-based Welsh contractors Jones Bros. Other prominent operators include Wordsworth of Barnsley, Cornwall’s Goonvean Aggregates, Gallagher of Maidstone, and Bristol-based Kelston Sparkes.

Confident that the UK economy will continue to strengthen, McHale believe the current year will be an improving one across the industry. In anticipation, their recruitment programme is expected to continue, additional appointments having recently been made in sales and after-sales positions, including additional mobile field service engineers.

One particularly promising appointment is that of James Cliffe as company manager UK. Operating from McHale’s Tamworth headquarters, he will have overarching responsibility for all aspects of operations throughout England, Scotland, and Wales – a responsibility that will include ongoing contact with all key customers in the Metso owners network.

Well qualified in the field of quarrying, aggregates production, and concrete products manufacturing, Mr Cliffe previously held managerial roles at both CRH and Roadstone, including national mobile crushing division manager and manager of Huntstown Quarry, location of the two largest and busiest quarries in the Roadstone network, which have a combined capacity to deliver a total extraction volume of 500,000 tonnes of material per month.

In addition to qualifications that include a MSc in Construction Project Management, a BSc in Construction Management & Engineering, and a BEng in Civil Engineering gained from studies at Cork and Waterford institutes of technology, Mr Cliffe has also completed CRH and Roadstone management development programmes, as well as industry-specific studies in asphalt and paving, concrete, quarry management, and minerals extractives at the University of Derby.

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