Think of Leavesley International and most people will think of the yard full of interesting military equipment on the A38 north of Lichfield.
What is less well-known is that founder Jim Leavesley is also a successful and award-winning pig farmer. Midlands Pig Producers (MPP) recently won a Good Saw Commendation from Compassion in World Farming in recognition of its commitment to farm animal welfare. The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards recognise food companies committed to implementing canges which result in positive outcomes for farm animals.
Much of the Leavesley family wealth comes from property – in particular a significant stake in Simon Clarke’s St. Modwen Group, which has returned to profit after being hit hard by the recession. Jim Leavesley founded St Modwen with his brother-in-law Sir Stan Clarke in 1966.
One high profile piece of business for the Leavesley empire – which traces its roots back to the First World War – was the breaking up of two Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships RFA Sir Percivale and RFA Grey Rover.
The ships were broken up and recycled in Leavesley’s Liverpool dock site. Leavesley’s also completed the breaking up of HMS Intrepid, a Royal Navy ship which played a major role in the Falklands War. It was the first Royal Navy vessel to be broken up under DEFRA’s guidelines on recycling. Some 95 per cent of the ship was recycled. The ship recycling facility is now discontinued.
The Burton-based Leavesley Group has been buying and selling military and government surplus for many years. The company was started by Jim Leavesley’s father, James Thomas Leavesley. Now it lists the United Nations, the UK Defence Export Services Organisation and the Swedish Armed Forces among its clients.
Jim Leavesley is involved in many other activities, including container hire and retail sales of workshop equipment, tools and furniture as well as commercial vehicle sales.
The property division of the company sells and rents industrial and commercial property throughout the Midlands and North.
Genesis Quality Assurance and the Integra farm assurance and audit business were disposed of to NSF-CMI a couple of years ago.
Jim Leavesley, who is 83, and chairman of the Leavesley Group with 12 primary sites in the UK, plus a number of overseas facilities. The business turns over around £20 million a year.