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Radnor Hills recognised by Powys Business Awards judges

Radnor Hills’ general manager Dave Pope receives the Judges’ Special Award from Peter Webber, representing CellPath, sponsor and Bob Benyon, a judge. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

Successful spring water and soft drinks company Radnor Hills added another accolade to its bulging trophy cabinet at the Powys Business Awards 2022 on Friday night.

The Knighton-based company, which has more than 150 employees, collected the Judges’ Special Award, sponsored by CellPath, at the awards ceremony held at Dering Lines, Brecon.

Showcasing the diverse range of successful enterprises in the county, Powys Business Awards are organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) with support from sponsors.

Founded in 1990 by fifth generation farmer William Watkins to sell water cuplets to the airline industry, Radnor Hills has grown from humble beginnings to now have a turnover of £42 million.

Manufacturing a variety of soft drinks, waters and juices, the company is one of the leading suppliers of school drinks, selling two bottles of Radnor Splash every second in the past year.

Similar to many other companies, Radnor Hills was challenged by the pandemic, especially when schools were closed. During the first lockdown, 70% of turnover was lost, requiring the business to be agile in the market and move fast to provide customer solutions.

The company decided to expand its Radnor Splash range into Tetra Pak cartons to offer customers greater value for money and concentrated more on e-commerce sales direct to consumers through Amazon and the business’ own online shop.

Radnor Hills emerged from the pandemic stronger, increasing total branded sales by £2 million. As the pandemic has eased, sales and turnover have rocketed, allowing the company to invest £6 million to support continued growth and new jobs.

To make the business more energy efficient, the company is investing in new offices, a solar farm, production line improvements and waste reduction.

Dave Pope, Radnor Hills’ general manager, said: “We are very proud to have been recognised with this award against a lot of great companies here in Powys.

“In March 2020, we had more than 100 people on furlough during the pandemic and were expecting the company to shrink in size, but we have gone from strength to strength thanks to innovation and hard work by our staff.”

Powys Business Awards judges said: “On the back of Covid-19, the Radnor Hills has become more agile and has expanded its range, making its products more affordable and reducing plastic.

“The company continues to re-invest to grow sales and profits, creating new jobs, reducing waste and improving local infrastructure. Radnor Hills sets a great example to the many flourishing Powys businesses here tonight.”