08 Apr 14. West Midlands’ Skan Group Holdings celebrates its ‘Diamond’ – as a now multi-faceted business
A West Midlands private family owned group is celebrating its ‘Diamond Jubilee‘ this year. Skan Group Holdings Limited, founded by Howard Victor Skan sixty years and two family generations ago, was established in Northfield, Birmingham in 1954, as the UK exclusive manufacturer’s agent for the Schott Glass Group. That relationship still stands and the company moved onto its current site in Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull in 1968. Today, the Group, which was created out of the original company, HV Skan Limited in 1993, owns three core British specialist engineering businesses with a pedigree of over three hundred years between them.
HV Skan Limited is Britain’s largest supplier of technical, optical and specialist glass and glass ceramic materials, with applications across an extremely broad spectrum of industries. Product ranges fall into four main categories – Advanced Optics – which generally cover optical and filter glass; Display – for example, signage, protection glass for art galleries and IT applications; ‘Hometech’ – heat resistant glass for the home heating industry and lastly, Special Applications, which includes radiation shielding glass and welding protection glass. The niche but diversified nature of many of the sectors which the glass business serves has enabled it to continue to grow both sales and market share year on year, despite the recent downturn.
In 2000, the group acquired Oldbury UK, a bespoke engineering and mobile solutions company which, since 2006, has been based on the Group’s freehold industrial site in Wolverhampton. Like HV Skan, it serves a diverse range of industries, but particularly defence and security, where it is very well known as a specialist trailer and mobile platform manufacturer, systems integrator and turnkey military solutions provider.
Most recently, Skan Group rescued the former Reynolds Boughton vehicle engineering and waste handling equipment manufacturer – now renamed Boughton Engineering. Co-located alongside Oldbury UK at Wolverhampton, the company has made an impressively rapid return to its former market leading position and the Group has recently invested in a new and advanced fabrications facility in North Devon.
Third generation Richard Skan, now Group Managing Director of Boughton Engineering Limited and Oldbury UK Limited said, “We have three mature businesses in the Group, each vertically self-standing at the top of the specialist niche sectors they serve. But the strength of our business is firstly, our people – and secondly, the wide range and diversity of the end customer markets we serve. As a family, we are totally committed to our businesses – and we recognise the incredible contribution which our management, staff and employees have made over many years to make the Group what it is today. My Grandfather would have been very proud of every one of them”.
After an early career in the automotive component industry, Richard joined the Board of the family owned group in 2000 and is currently head of both the Oldbury and Boughton businesses. In 2013, he was elected as the Battlespace Businessman of the Year. Richard is also a member of the advisory board of NDI (Northern Defence Industries), the defence sector membership, supply chain and business development organisation and a Trustee of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Royal Warwickshire) Museum.
Group Chairman, Roger Skan joined his father in the family business straight from university in October 1960 and he continues to head up the specialist glass operation as Managing Director. Roger is also very well known locally in the West Midlands for his involvement in a range of organisations including Solihull Chamber of Commerce, of which he was a founder member and Solihull Rotary Club. He was Chairman of the Solihull Hospital Foundation Board, which raised the funds t