Pochin's Documents 80 Year History
8th February 2016
Pochin’s Ltd, the North West construction and property specialist, has celebrated its 80th anniversary with the release of a commemorative book documenting its history, ‘Stronger Together for 80 Years’.
Founded as a small joinery by Cedric Pochin in the 1930s, Pochin’s has remained a family-oriented business ever since and is currently led by a third generation senior leadership team headed up by Cedric’s grandsons, Jim and Bob Nicholson.
CEO, Jim Nicholson, commented: “From providing ammunition boxes during the Second World War to crafting speedboats in the 1960s, Pochin’s has never been afraid to be different and pioneer new approaches. As we lead the business into its ninth decade, it fills me with great pride that we do so under private ownership and with the Pochin family name still at its heart.
“A company such as Pochin’s is built on a collective of dedicated employees, local supply chain partners and clients that work together to forge quality projects that stand the test of time. Our success and longevity are founded on strong relationships and a team that truly cares about the company. This commitment and desire allows us to focus on the sustainable growth that will cement our position as a recognised leader and family business for years to come.”
Pochin’s: ‘Stronger Together for 80 Years’
It took courage to start a business in the 1930s. But that’s precisely what Cedric Pochin did. Pochin’s was formed as a joinery in Castlefield, Manchester, with less than £500 capital. There were never more than 10 employees during the first few years as Cedric worked with his brother Arthur to get the business of the ground.
The company’s enviable reputation for high quality joinery served the business well during the war years. Despite labour shortages, Pochin’s produced everything from ammunition boxes for the army to rum jars for the navy. However, commercial success building RAF barracks was tempered by a fire at the Castlefield premises, prompting Pochin’s to move to Middlewich, where it still operates from today.
In the 1950’s, the family business started to branch out with contracts won for factories, office bocks, and notably the universities of Manchester and Bangor. In 1957, the company became one of the first outside London to have a tower crane, before launching a marine division a year later.
The start of the 1960s placed Pochin’s on the precipice of major growth. On the back of continued client demand, in 1962, the decision was taken to form a property development division. Turnover in 1964 nearly doubled that of the previous year, before the company reached a major milestone in March 1965: flotation on the Manchester Stock Exchange. Valued at £875,000, work continued to flow in before the beginning of another new venture: a concrete pumping division.
Throughout the 1970s, there were several new additions to the ‘big boom’ pump stock, maintaining the company’s position at the forefront of technological innovation whilst contributing significantly to the Manchester skyline. The decade also saw the introduction of the iconic Pochin’s elephant as the company’s logo while it also purchased the land that would later become the hugely successful business park, Midpoint 18.
If the success of the 1970s had filled Pochin’s sails with bright optimism, the personal and economic trials of the coming years would test the mettle of the family business. The unexpected death of its founder and longstanding chairman in 1980 was accompanied by a much-heralded downturn in the building industry. Despite a challenging climate, Pochin’s continued to win quality contracts throughout the decade and celebrated having the largest concrete pumping hire fleet in Europe, and the largest pump ever seen in the UK.
With Midpoint 18 doubling in size at the end of previous decade, the nineties would prove a defining period for Pochin’s commercially, despite the tragic loss of several family members, including Cedric’s brother Arthur. The upturn of the economy in 1992 was marked with the delivery of a £24m distribution centre for Tesco, as Pochin’s grew its portfolio of office, education, healthcare, residential and industrial contracts.
The early noughties were a buoyant time for Pochin’s, working on Citigroup’s Tower Site at Canary Wharf among other large contracts. A joint venture with Manchester Science Park proved a major success, but even record profits at the turn of is 70th anniversary couldn’t prepare the business for the impending financial crash that saw commercial property values halved in the space of two years.
2010 - present
Despite the recession impacting on investor confidence, Pochin’s rode the storm that saw so many fail. 2014 would prove a monumental year for the business, as Pochin’s was taken private by a consortium led by the founder’s grandson, Jim Nicholson. Freed from the constraints of public listing, Pochin’s order book is thriving with major projects across the North West and North Wales benefitting from 80 years of local knowledge.