Couple who set up hand sanitiser business when coronavirus hit 'set to make £30m'

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
Rachel and Andrew Montague, founders of ClearWater Hygiene (SWNS)
Rachel and Andrew Montague, founders of ClearWater Hygiene. (SWNS)

A couple who set up a hand sanitiser company 12 weeks ago when coronavirus hit the UK are set to make £30m, it has been reported.

ClearWater Hygiene, founded by husband and wife Andrew and Rachel Montague, makes high-grade hand sanitiser for frontline health workers, businesses and the public.

It has secured a number of contracts with firms that require sanitiser to comply with social distancing measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

ClearWater began trading in March, the same month the UK entered its coronavirus lockdown.

Made at Deeside Gin Distillery in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, and bottled in Preston, Lancashire, the company has the capacity to produce 900,000 litres of hand sanitiser each week.

The product contains 80% ethanol liquid and is suitable for use in hospitals, care homes and other public health facilities.

ClearWater has secured contracts with corporate customers including the Post Office, JD plc, O2 Retail, BP and Aldi, some of which are multi-year agreements, with an estimated worth of £30m.

The company has made more than £3m in revenue in the past four months and has donated large quantities of its products to NHS charities.

It has 12 full-time staff and a further eight contracted workers at its headquarters in Leith, Edinburgh, and in other parts of Scotland and the UK.

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Mr Montague, a property developer, said: “As lockdown was being announced in March, we immediately saw the importance of reducing our reliance on imports and focusing on UK manufacturing to ensure both health providers and private businesses could access high quality and fairly priced products which are now essential in the battle against the pandemic.

“We are proud to be providing some much-needed support in the fight against COVID-19 by gifting our product to NHS charities while, at the same time, building a successful business.

“From a standing start just 12 weeks ago, we have seen a huge surge in demand for our products across the UK.

The company also sells dispenser units (ClearWater Hygiene)
The company also sells dispenser units. (ClearWater Hygiene)

“We’re continuing to secure significant contracts and we’ve ramped up production to 900,000 litres per week.”

James Horton from law firm CMS, one of ClearWater Hygiene’s key business advisers, said: “Andrew and Rachel have been phenomenal in the speed of their response to this public health crisis.

“They not only identified a market opportunity but have also helped address some of the essential supply issues in combating COVID-19 in the UK."

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