Expert for Roof Windows

Jim Blanthorne

Managing Director


Jim Blanthorne

With a career spanning 20 years in the supply of building materials to merchant and retail customers, including 14 years in a senior capacity at Metsa Group, Jim brings extensive construction industry experience to this category. Recently appointed to Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows, Jim joined the Keystone Group in 2016 as International Operations Director for the business. During this time he has led the development and implementation of ambitious investment programmes to progress and future proof the business. Central to Jim’s approach and drive is his passion for exceptional customer service, people development and operational excellence.

Keylite Roof Windows

Keylite Roof Windows was established in Cookstown, Northern Ireland in 2001, as a subsidiary of the Keystone Group. Today it is the fastest growing roof window manufacturer in Europe and one of the biggest brands in the UK roof windows market. This success is largely a result of a company which has been driven by an ingrained and intuitive spirit of innovation, continuous investment in R&D and a total commitment in putting the customer at the heart of its business.

Renowned for its award winning innovations, Keylite believes in continually adding value to the Keylite Roof Window as standard without compromise. A combination of unique patented technologies such as the Integrated Expanding Thermal Collar, Flick Fit Brackets, Unique Sash Finger Spring and recessed fit feature in every window.

Keylite offers a full range of roof windows products, designed for every size and category of building project, an extensive range of genuine Keylite Blinds, as well as roof window accessories including timber loft ladders, flashings and electric operation kits. Ongoing expansion of the range includes a range of flat roof solutions including Roof Lanterns, Flat Glass Rooflights and Sunlite systems.

The business has over 300 employees across its sites, with offices in Northern Ireland and Burton Gateway, South Derbyshire. The relocation in 2019 to brand new 40,000 sq ft office and warehouse premises at Burton Gateway greatly enhances Keylite’s ability to service and supply the UK and Ireland markets more effectively. Keylite’s roof windows are manufactured in Poland, in a 160,000 sq ft factory which has benefited from a significant investment programme during recent years, significantly improving the safety, quality and reliability of manufacturing activity.

Find out more at or visit the Keystone Group website at

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Expert Comments
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Keylite Comment: Q2 2023

Activity levels in the second quarter confirmed the slow year we predicted at the start and were only a little improved on the first quarter, which is normally seasonally quieter.

All the data points to consumer confidence being low, and people understandably opting to keep any pounds they have left in their pocket, safe in their pocket.  Inflation remains stubbornly high, and its impact on interest rates and therefore the cost of borrowing for home improvement or a new home purchase has significantly reduced demand. This too is in line with industry expectations.

For manufacturers, low market demand has been combined with merchants reducing their own stock levels to release cash.  At Keylite, we have been supporting customers to optimise their ranges and ensure they are best placed to serve shifting demand.  Allied to an agile logistics model and our own extensive stock holding, we can ensure that lower volume items and make-to-order specials can be delivered to stockist partners quickly when required.

Lower volume results in more material supply, but the whole supply chain has a level of overheads to absorb if we are to remain capable of the growth and flexibility required to deliver the volume of homes the country will require in the future.

Similarly, wage inflation expectation in the supply chain will be significant while inflation remains high and unemployment levels remain low.  In Poland, where we employ most of our workforce, the statutory minimum wage will rise again by some 20% from January 2024.  We continue to automate processes in an attempt to offset as much of the increased cost as possible, but when these higher labour costs are amplified by a weaker pound it translates into a major pressure on margin, so price increases next year will be unavoidable.

There are signs of improvement in both inflation and cost of borrowing, but in the absence of significant stimulus we don’t expect major improvements this year.  Our teams are remaining positive and will continue to work hard to win orders and back sell through our stockists, as always.