Norwich worker’s new name is a winner for Briar Chemicals

A Norwich worker has secured a unique accolade after winning a competition to rename the chemical company where she works.

Nicola Theobald chose the new name, Briar Chemicals, to replace Bayer CropScience after its German parent company sold the business to the Munich-based Aurelius Group earlier this year.

The 28-year-old, who studied chemistry at the UEA and now lives in Dereham, won some John Lewis vouchers for her efforts, which was voted the most popular choice by staff at the Sweetbriar Road site and became the official name for the company yesterday.

'I didn't want anything too corporate because the Norwich site has been here a long time and has got a long history and I wanted something to continue that,' Miss Theobald, who works in the quality control department, said. 'I chose Briar, because of Sweetbriar Road, and Chemicals because that is what we do. I didn't really think about it too much, but apparently no-one else came up with it.'

Site manager Tim Green said the company had decided to run the competition to give staff the chance to name the new company.

'We got about 200 entries and there were some permutations on it, and then we asked the employees which one they liked best,' he said. 'The ethos of the new company is that we are a small independent local company and we are going to need everybody's input to make sure we are successful in the future. This was a way of trying to get that support right from the beginning.'

Mr Green said the business must learn to stand on its own two feet following the change of ownership. The sale follows plans to invest nearly �10m in new facilities and the new owners insisted it would help safeguard the jobs of more than 250 staff and 50 contract workers with plans to allow the firm, which specialises in the production of agricultural products such as weed killers, to bid for new work.

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'This is a Norwich company now, it's one and only base is in Norwich and it feels quite different,' Mr Green added. 'It's very exciting, we are a bit apprehensive but it's down to us to make it work. All the staff have transferred.

'As far as we are concerned, it's business as usual and we look forward to the challenges ahead.'