As a result of the investment, says Mr Garbutt, his company will now have direct access to the whole of the European stock of both products and spares with delivery next day.

This will free Mr Garbutt’s company from sole reliance on UK stocks. Ultimately, the company will be able to access the whole of the back-up provided at the ELS Copenhagen headquarters.

Mr Garbutt reports two other reasons for his optimism about the UK company. First, he has just appointed a sales manager. David Evans joined the company on January 20.

He previously held the same position with laboratory products company Carbolite, and now looks forward to being based in the field.

Indeed Mr Garbutt hopes to be able to increase the UK sales force, and says this despite 19 redundancies last year. These, he explained, only affected back-room administration staff and resulted from a transfer of some functions to corporate level, following a restructuring of the ELS group as a whole.

The third marker of confidence in the UK company is gaining the president’s award for its performance in 2002. Dr Mike Münchow, president of Electrolux worldwide, made the award in Castelbrando Italy in January.

The award recognises the improvement in the UK company’s performance during the past year.