Company information

Planes, trains and automobiles

Peterborough-based E-Leather produces a lightweight, high-performance composite material, which is made using natural leather fibres, It is a fast-growing business that supplies interiors and seating for planes, buses and trains, as well as footwear and other leather products. Most of its sales are focused on the export market, with 90% going to overseas customers, such as German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and US low-cost airline JetBlue.

"There is strong and growing demand for materials that outperform traditional products and have a lower environmental impact," says Chris McBean, President of the company. "We develop long-term partnerships with some of the world’s leading brands and tailor our technology to meet their specifications and design ideas."

The company has posted impressive growth rates to date, with international sales growing by almost 75% last year, and it has won numerous awards. The business is on the cusp of a further period of growth, having recently concluded a new funding round.

"We raised £70m to enable us to build a new innovation centre and factory in the UK which is four times bigger than the current headquarters," says Chris. "The range of markets we sell into will continue to expand, as will the number of brand partnerships we have. When the market is tough, the world’s leading brands respond by looking for growth and innovation."

The key for the business is adapting to the constantly-changing trends in the market and the evolving needs of its customers. "We will continue to innovate," says Chris. "Understanding design trends and brand strategies will enable us to define our priorities, so we can continue to develop products that meet emerging needs. We will drive innovation and think of ourselves as a global business that is centred in the UK, finding and making the best of opportunities in the global market."