The Welsh Government is making a £566,000 investment to support specialist fishing line manufacturer Airflo to grow and ensure the future viability of the plant in Brecon, creating 21 and safeguarding a further 44 jobs, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
Airflo manufactures the world’s only range of 100% PVC-free fly-fishing lines and is a leading innovator in the sector.
Based out of a factory on the Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate in Brecon and owned by US-based Mayfly Group, Airflo has become a leading Welsh exporting success story, with pre-season orders forecasting a quadrupling of business to North America. The Welsh Government investment will also enable the company to build on its export growth in North America and expand into new markets, such as Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.
The investment from the Welsh Government’s Economy Futures Fund will allow Airflo to introduce a new product to market that does not currently exist. The new equipment will replace ageing equipment and result in improved productivity, ensuring that jobs remain in Wales and a continuation of research and development at Brecon. It follows significant investment of nearly £2m by the business in its plant in Brecon since 2020.
For over 70 years, most fly-fishing lines have been made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a naturally rigid plastic. However, PVC lines begin to break down immediately after manufacturing. As there is no real way to safely recycle a PVC line, it leads to releasing harmful plasticisers into the environment, particularly affecting the survival and biomass of soil organisms.
The project aligns with the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government commitment to build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future. It also has a strong alignment with a number of the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan goals, namely:
- Supporting businesses to drive prosperity.
- Tackling regional inequality and promoting fair work.
- Drive sustainable growth and combat climate change.
Announcing the award, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“I’m delighted to announce this major investment to support specialist manufacturing in Powys.
“Airflo is a unique company with an innovative product with worldwide sales potential. So, this project will not only help boost the local economy in Brecon, providing a predominantly rural area with quality employment opportunities with very competitive salaries, but it will also result in the development of a new product that will help protect the environment.
“The Welsh Government is committed to protecting our environment and this investment aligns with our long-term ambitions of phasing out unnecessary, single-use products, especially plastic, and sending zero plastic to landfill.”
Welcoming the support from the Welsh Government, Director of Finance and HR at Airflo, Sherrie Woolf said:
“We are thrilled that the Welsh Government is supporting our business growth. We have massive opportunities to grow our exports and at the moment we can’t meet demand!
“This loan will assist us in adding substantial production equipment and add a further 21 full time roles in the company. It’s great that Wales is open for business!”
The Welsh Government’s flagship Economic Contract prioritises the social and environmental needs of Wales whilst building a more resilient and prosperous wellbeing economy.
An economic contract is already in place between Airflo and the Welsh Government, and this new investment will lead to a new, enhanced contract within 12 months of receipt of the award.