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`Businesses want certainty, says Essex business leader

PUBLISHED: 10:41 28 February 2019

Suki Dulai, chief executive of Surya Foods, Harwich. Picture: COLIN JOLIFFE

Suki Dulai, chief executive of Surya Foods, Harwich. Picture: COLIN JOLIFFE

Archant

International business The Flying Trade Group, based in Harwich, has added its voice to calls for a Brexit deal to be sealed.

The family-owned business, which includes Surya Foods and Surya Hotels, fears the impact a `no deal’ Brexit would have on international trade.

As Flying Trade Group celebrates news it has made the Sunday Times International Track 200. the Essex firm voiced its concern about the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on its business.

The Sunday Times 10th Annual International Track 200 sees Flying Trade Group - the parent company behind world food giants Surya Foods and Surya Hotels – shoot into Top 100.

The group works in several sectors of the food and leisure industry and is one of Tendring’s biggest employers.

Around 450 are employed in Tendring/Essex and 1,050 staff across the UK.

At position 52, with annual International sales growth of 79%, it is the only business from Essex to feature in the latest Top 100.

The list features Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest growing overseas sales. It comes just months after the firm secured a place in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton TopTrack 250 league tables.

While delighted with the news, the company announced it has deep concerns about the potential impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on its business – joining a sea of other local, national and international businesses calling for certainty from the Government as March 31 looms.

Overseeing one of the UK’s premier world food hubs, with its own rice polishing facility on site, FTG occupies all 11 acres of Europa industrial park in Harwich, manufactures one of the UK’s Top 3 dry rice brands (Laila Basmati), is ranked the 14th largest business in the county of Essex and is one of Tendring district’s biggest employers.

Chief executive Suki Dulai of Surya Foods said: “The Sunday Times International Track 200 shows just how well our business is performing at present, but a ‘no deal’ Brexit certainly places a big question mark over our future growth, internationally.

“As the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit has neared, like all businesses, we have had to make decisions regarding whether to stockpile supplies. Stockpiling involves an unnatural flow of expenditure for businesses, which diverts money that could be invested elsewhere. It is the uncertainty that is damaging UK businesses, not the concept of Brexit itself.

“As an international business with operations across Europe we are mostly concerned about tariffs, how the pound performs against the dollar and euro, and the potential impact this could have on logistics and procurement, which are major costs to our business.

“Similarly, tariffs on exports, both in and out of Europe, present issues for us, as a business that brings products in and out of Europe almost daily. For instance, we transport food produce out of the EU. Any hold ups at port will be costly to this operation and could result in rising costs to consumers and shelf life of products.

“Like every other UK business with import and export arrangements with the EU, we would very much like to see a return of some degree of certainty.”

The Flying Trade Group operates across several sectors of the UK food and leisure industry - its main subsidiary businesses including Surya Foods, one of the largest suppliers of authentic world foods in the UK, and Surya Hotels Ltd. Under the directorship of brothers Harry and Suki Dulai, the rapidly expanding, family run, business has an annual UK turnover in excess of £132m, operating in over 30 countries with Impressive growth during the last year.

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