A decision to invest in 70 per cent of a forklift manufacturing firm is paying off for its director – despite one of the worst recessions on record.

Simon Brown took on the stake in Translift Bendi in 2007, and despite tough economic times it proved a wise investment as the firm expands.

This year alone Bendi has launched three new trucks, officially opened a new visitor centre at its head office in Redditch and already hit its annual sales target.

Mr Brown initially invested in the firm in May 1995 with his father, with the company stalling at £2.4 million turnover, but turnover has risen to £20 million in just 10 years.

Mr Brown admitted the recession was tough for the firm, but said his investment had paid off.

He said: “It was an extremely difficult time as we worked to consolidate the entire company in terms of stock, orders and people, to ensure the business was fit for what was expected to come.”

Mr Brown is partners with Paul Overfield who owns 30 per cent of Bendi, and the pair have ambitious growth plans.

Trucks made by Bendi, which has a 100-strong workforce, are now available in up to 14 different configurations and Mr Brown said this versatility has helped the business weather the tough economic climate.

Mr Brown said: “Bendi as a concept has much more to give in terms of range. We’ve got great ideas for new forklifts that will offer additional savings to what is currently available on market.”

He added: “Design enhancements are 100 per cent customer driven. We listen to what our customers need from our trucks and, where there is a compelling argument, we will make the adjustments.”

Among the Redditch-based firm’s growth plans are the expansion of its export sales.

Originally viewed with caution in order to ensure production was not overstretched, the company is already exporting across Europe, Africa and Australasia – and Mr Brown sees it as an opportunity for growth.

Mr Brown counts father John Ryan as a key part of his success. Mr Ryan owned a company called HiSpace and featured on Tomorrow’s World with one of his ideas.

The 43-year-old explained: “Even now, when people call Bendi they ask after my father. It’s a humbling feeling. It would be impossible to follow such an industry legend. In fact, I don’t think I ever could. It’s far easier to do things and make decisions from the heart rather than try to second guess what someone else would have done or wanted.”

Bendi is among dozens of companies which will be exhibiting at the International Materials Handling Exhibition next week.

The event, which runs from November 16 to 18, is aimed at logistics professionals and takes place once every three years.