Scottish Daily Mail

Aga sales turn up the heat


a RECOVERING economy and a buoyant housing market helped heat up sales of aga stoves last year.

But the f i rm, based in Leamington Spa, saw its pensions deficit more than double to £72m, creating a major financial headache.

It blamed the Government’s quantitati­ve easing programme f or pushing down yields on gilts – or government bonds.

These are used to fund its final salary pension scheme, which has 12,000 members, most of them ex-employees.

Chief executive William McGrath said: ‘It’s definitely an issue and impacts on the company.’

aga – whose ambassador is model Daisy Lowe, pictured, was founded in 1830 and owns upmarket tiles firm Fired earth – plans to pay £4m to help plug the pensions deficit this year, and £10m next year. This would be enough to wipe out its profit of £9.6m posted last year, a 17.1pc increase on the previous year.

But when a series of charges, including a £3.3m payment to Fired earth executives, were included, the profit figure was whittled down to just £700,000.

In more upbeat news, the firm saw its millionth modern range cooker roll off the production line. Sales in the Uk jumped 9pc as consumers had more disposable income to splash out. The firm now hopes to crack the Chinese market.

McGrath said: ‘If we could do even a little bit as well as Jaguar Land Rover’s evoque has done in China it would be pretty good.’

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