Barrier Group buys 49% stakes in Wallsend firm Aquaseal

Offshore paintings and coatings company Barrier Group aims to expand its product portfolio after acquiring a 49% stake in a rubber product manufacturer

Jason Armstrong, Eddie Armstrong and Robert Bowles
Jason Armstrong, Eddie Armstrong and Robert Bowles

Offshore paintings and coatings company Barrier Group aims to expand its product portfolio after acquiring a 49% stake in a rubber product manufacturer.

The Wallsend-based firm, a specialist in the field of corrosion and fire protection in offshore, petrochemical and construction projects, has bought the share in Longbenton’s 12-strong Aquaseal Rubber, as part of a plan to broaden its presence in to wider markets.

Established more than 40 years ago, Aquaseal primarily manufactures rubber coatings, tubes for road cleaning equipment, and fenders for Remotely Operated Vehicles, and it has always prided itself on remaining family-run firm since its inception.

But managing director Jason Armstrong and his father, Eddie Armstrong, said the acquisition will provide a strong boost to the company, which aims to grow sales to £1m from this year’s £800,000.

Jason Armstrong said: “Having been a family run company since 1972, we feel our longevity and success speaks for itself. However, to have a major player in North East industry such as Barrier seeking to work with us is a massive boost to the company, and reiterates our success.”

Employing some 300 people, Barrier Group was formed in 1975 to carry out painting of structures to be installed as part of the growing North Sea oil industry.

The £26m turnover company has gone on to complete more than 200 major contracts, totalling millions of square metres of surface protection, working with most of the world’s major oil companies including BP, Esso and Shell.

More recently the company has expanded its operations beyond the oil sector, providing protection solutions across the aerospace, marine and offshore renewables energy sectors, after buying the insulation and architectural services arm of ARC Industrial Services.

Aquaseal’s rubber product manufacturing provides the firm with scope to expand further into new markets.

Robert Bowles, chairman of Barrier Group, said: “We are delighted to have acquired the stake in Aquaseal Rubber. It is a company with a strong history and an excellent reputation for quality and service.

“Utilising the skills and tools Aquaseal Rubber provides is an integral move for Barrier in the process of expansion, and diversifying our services.

“What is more, the move has strengthened two North East businesses and enhances the region’s reputation for its stellar supply chain.”

Barrier was advised by Mark Adams, corporate finance partner of Hay & Kilner Solicitors, making it the third Barrier project to be completed by the leading Newcastle-based law firm. 

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