Your trusted partner for innovative foam solutions for over 70 years
Norman Grimshaw formed Vitafoam Limited on £100 of capital at Glen Mill in Oldham, North West England. The company manufactured latex cushions and mattresses. Its first customer was Wrays furniture retailers in Lees, Oldham and the original cheque payment for £39 has been preserved and retained. From these humble beginnings a multinational company was born.
The company moved to its new home in Middleton, which has been the location for its head office ever since. Vitafoam became established as purveyors of quality comfort products. It was during this decade it diversified into automotive products and carpet underlay.
Due to ongoing success, the company developed a thirst for expansion and established several overseas businesses. The company was publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange and known as British Vita PLC. New products were introduced in the UK through Vitafoam’s first slab stock production of polyether foam.
Further joint ventures were established across the globe which fuelled growth. Polyester foam technology was introduced to the company with the acquisition of the Caligen Group. This signified a key milestone for Vitafoam, as its first business based in mainland Europe (The Netherlands).
During this period of growth, the company gained significant presence in Western Europe and expanded its technologies and offering through strategic acquisitions. In the UK, a technological breakthrough saw Vitafoam launch combustion-modified high-resilience foams (CMHR) ahead of market expectations. It was during this decade the flooring business Ball & Young become part of the Vita family.
Latex was reintroduced to the business for the first time in 30 years with the acquisition of Radium Foam BV. There was expansion into Poland with the launch of a greenfield manufacturing plant at Brzeg Dolny in 1993, followed by further joint ventures and investments in Eastern Europe.
Growth in Eastern Europe continued with further conversion sites and greenfield factories opening in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The parent company British Vita PLC was taken into private ownership and became known as The Vita Group.
The Vita Group’s footprint continued to expand, with new Comfort conversion facilities commissioned in Croatia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania.
Ball & Young strengthened its position and competitiveness with expansion of its state-of-the-art production facility in Corby in the East Midlands.
In response to the continuing growth in its comfort markets, Vita invested in increased capacity (primarily curing and storage) in Lithuania, Hungary, Romania and the UK.
Vita Technical opened conversion facilities in Poland and China. In May 2018, all shares in the Vita Group were acquired by investment funds managed by SVP Global.
Vita’s ability to continuously innovate was recognised with five significant industry awards: ‘Best of the Best’ at Interzum for Vita Talalay in collaboration with its customer Veldeman for Velde Resleep; ‘High Product Quality’ at Interzum for Nightshade pillow by Vita Baltic; ‘Innovation of the Year’ for FRee, TCPP-free foam, at the UK NBF Awards; Interior Monthly Magazine’s ‘Best Flooring Accessory Supplier’ and ‘National Flooring Innovation’ for Ultra-Fresh technology and its environment impact on being the ‘best-in-class with low emissions’.
FRee foam, TCPP-free foam that meets UK flammability regulations, was launched ahead of market expectations.
Vita’s production footprint across Europe was given a boost with the launch of Vita Italy, formed following the acquisition of upholstery firm Natuzzi’s manufacturing site in Naples. The facility specialises in polyurethane foam for the Italian furniture and bedding industry.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the business remained open throughout lockdowns. As a key supplier of PU foam in medical mattresses, filtration for ventilators and added value materials used in assorted medical and hygiene applications, it produced vital components for a range of sectors crucial to supporting public health.
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