A new force has been created within the UK’s textiles recycling sector with the acquisition of Manchester-based I & G Cohen Ltd by JMP Wilcox & Co of the West Midlands.
The deal, agreed last month (April 2017), sees Wilcox and I&G Cohen become one of the UK’s largest operators with a new total annual throughput between the businesses of about 25,000 tonnes of used clothing, textiles and related items. Wilcox is a family run business as was Cohen’s.
The jump in size of Wilcox as a consequence of the Cohen purchase puts it closer in terms of throughput to one of the UK’s largest textiles recycling businesses, the Salvation Army’s SATcol service which handles more than 34,000 tonnes of material. Wilcox exports 15,000 tonnes of textiles each year while Cohen’s handled about 10,000 tonnes a year.
In a statement, a spokesperson for JMP Wilcox & Company said: “I & G Cohen has been acquired and is now part of the JMP Wilcox & Company Ltd. I & G Cohen directors Phil Geller and Elliot Cohen have decided to retire from the business.”
I&G Cohen have played a leading role within the textiles recycling with Gerald, the father of Elliot Cohen, who is retiring, being president of the Textiles Recycling Association for a number of years.
The company said about its history: “The 1990s saw new export markets established in African countries and we also started to export to Eastern Europe. In 1993, our first textile bank was placed in the newly opened Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.”
Since then, Cohen’s worked with charities including Macmillan Cancer Relief, Blind Children UK, Action for Children, WCRF and The Christie Charitable Fund. The business received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category in 2008 which coincided with its 50th birthday celebrations.
JMP Wilcox was formed in 1895 and with the Wilcox Industrial Supply Company are involved in the “reclamation, processing and export of fine quality clothing to Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.” It collects on a national basis.
The company notes that it has a “state of the art” manufacturing unit, ideally positioned in the West Midlands within easy access to the M5 and M6 motorways, Birmingham airport and rail Links.
Of the site, the company has said: “The four-acre site provides full transport facilities for our National collection system, 50,000 sq ft of purpose built factory provides ample space for containerisation and to house our robot controlled automatic sorting system.”
Both Wilcox and Cohen’s are members of the Recyclatex organisation which is a trading group made up of “a select number of companies which are members of the Textile Recycling Association”.
“Together,” says the Recyclatex website, “the companies can offer a Nationwide service to charities, retailers, local authorities, schools and local community groups.”