A COUNTY Durham-based manufacturing company is expanding into new specialist markets after securing a six-figure investment.
ALM Engineering Solutions, which is based in Newton Aycliffe, is diversifying its business into the nuclear power, oil and gas, aerospace and renewable energy sectors.
And to support these expansion plans, the management team has secured a £200,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund administered by fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Originally set up in 1994 by managing director Tony Thompson, ALM began as an architectural ironmongery manufacturer, and diversified into sub-contract precision engineering in 2004.
In an effort to combat the effects of the recession, ALM Engineering, which manufactures precision-machined components and assemblies, decided to reposition part of its business to take advantage of growth areas.
Over the last three years it has invested over £500,000 in new plant and equipment, with more money invested in recruiting and training new staff.
ALM has also achieved the AS9100 quality standard for the aerospace industry, and installed a new Manufacturing Resource Planning software system.
Thompson said: “We’ve worked hard to set ourselves apart from the competition during the recession, and while conditions have been and remain tough, we’ve been able to improve what was already a strong business and develop mutually-beneficial long-term partnerships with a range of key clients.
“Moving into the aerospace and nuclear industries places a huge emphasis on the quality of the work we produce, but securing the AS9100 standard demonstrates to potential new clients that we’re able to meet their exacting requirements and it’s already opening new doors for us.
“We’re confident that we’ve got the skills, experience, processes and manufacturing expertise in place to achieve our commercial ambitions, and are confident that the target of reaching a £5m annual turnover inside five years is within our grasp.”
ALM currently employs 35 people and turns over around £2.5m per annum. Thompson said that at present the new markets accounted for about 40% of the company’s contracts but he expects this to increase to 80% within six to nine months.
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “ALM’s track record speaks volumes for the quality of the products that they manufacture, and their ambition to expand into new markets will be supported by the additional working capital that this Growth Fund investment provides.”
The Growth Fund is aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage.