Brazil beckons for growing Teesside engineering firm

QA Weld Tech's overseas expansion comes after a record year for the welding and fabrication firm which saw turnover double to £16m

The QA Weld Tech team, from left to right, Paul Langley finance director; Charles Tighe, managing director; Richard Knowles technical director; David Pickles operations director
The QA Weld Tech team, from left to right, Paul Langley finance director; Charles Tighe, managing director; Richard Knowles technical director; David Pickles operations director

Rapid growth at a Teesside subsea engineering firm has triggered expansion overseas to tap into a growing oil and gas market in Brazil.

Based at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Park industrial estate, QA Weld Tech specialises in welding and fabricating complex pipework, supplying parts to a host of clients across the globe within the sub-sea oil and gas industries.

The firm started life in 1980 with a single 6,000sqft unit but has now grown to employ 110 people and operates out of 12 units, counting One Subsea, AF Global and GE Oil and Gas among its customers.

Since then, the firm has developed a reputation as a world leader world leader in the manufacture of flowbends for subsea equipment, securing orders from Australia and West of Shetland, China, the Nile Delta and the West Coast of Africa.

Now the firm is tapping into the buoyant Brazilian oil and gas market by opening a new factory in Sao Paulo – its first overseas expansion.

The move follows a record trading year in which turnover doubled to £16m, the the opening of a new office block and the hiring of 40 new staff – a lift of 36% in headcount.

New arrivals included operations director, David Pickles, who will strengthen the senior management team.

Charlie Tighe, QA Weld Tech’s managing director, said the company has invested £1.5m over the last four years following a strategic review of the business.

Directors now plan further investment of £800,000 – £300,000 in its CNC machining capacity, £100,000 for further improvements to its pressure test capability and £400,000 to equip the Brazilian factory, which is due to open in May.

Mr Tighe said: “We saw an opportunity in Brazil a few years ago and the oil and gas industry there is huge.

“Our strengths lie in our expertise and more than half of our production goes for export, so opening a factory overseas is a significant step in growing our presence globally.”

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