Glassmaker's energy costs have more than doubled

11 October 2021

Business leaders have warned costs will have to be passed onto customers amid fresh calls for an industrial energy price cap.

Adrian Curry, managing director of UK-based Encirc, one of the largest container glass manufacturers in Europe, told BBC Radio 4 it had seen its energy costs rise from £40m a year to £100m. 

Curry said the increases were “quite incredible”, and warned businesses will be forced to pass prices onto customers. 

He said: “We're seeing massive increases that we have to pass on to consumers so inflation in the background is going to increase quite significantly as a result of what's happening.

“We've seen huge increases in our energy costs, be that mostly natural gas but also electricity as well. So it means that we're having to pass these increases on very quickly to brand owners and retail outlets and as I said consumers.”

Curry joined leaders from the UK paper and ceramic industries to call on government to introduce price caps on business energy costs.

Gas prices peaked at 407p per therm last week and have now dropped back to around 260p, compared to 60p earlier in the year. 

Curry said: “The problem we have is that there’s no cap to it, and it's continuing to rise on an almost weekly basis.”

However, he made it clear he was not calling for a bailout of businesses, saying: “I will say our businesses are not at risk, per se, but our profitability has been hit hard.

“I'm not on the programme today asking for any bailouts,” he said. 

“But I think without an intervention of some sort, I can see a situation where it's going to be extremely difficult for a lot of companies and it's going to really affect supply chains going forward.”

He said some companies were “close to the edge” and on the “brink” due to the crisis. He said others were threatening to stop production, as current gas prices are not “economically viable”.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met with business leaders on Friday to discuss the crisis and the possibility of a business energy price cap. 

However, he refused to commit any additional support to businesses.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said: "We already have existing support and we're looking to see whether that's sufficient to get us through this situation."

He insisted the issue was not with supply constraints, but with costs: “I think it's a challenging situation. But as I've always said, the energy supply is not an issue. We've got security of supply.”

Global gas prices rocketed after a cold winter in Europe and Asia put pressure on supplies, while Asian demand for liquefied natural gas increased. 

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