A niche operator in sheet metal work based in County Durham is set to action expansion plans and create new jobs after successfully securing a slice of the Let’s Grow Fund.
Hydram Engineering is a leading supplier of sheet metal components, assemblies and fabrications that works with customers across a range of sectors, including Bosch, JCB and Mitsubishi Electric, from its base in Ferryhill.
That 100,000sq ft base is now set to be extended by 15,000sq ft to house a new automatic paint plant and assembly area, funded in part by £160,000 from The Journal and The Gazette’s Let’s Grow programme, backed by BE Group and UNW LLP.
The grant, based on a total spend of £845,000, comes as latest accounts show a 45% lift in turnover for the year ended April 30 2014, from £6.97m to £10.11m.
Pre-tax profits for the year also soared to £509,731 from £37,967, while operating profit increased eightfold, from £67,089 to £544,731.
Managing director David Greatorex said the lift in turnover was driven by a successful marketing strategy devised to attract multi-national customers, which resulted in new contracts, as well as the completion of a two-year-investment programme.
The investment was supported in part by a £477,708 RGF 2 grant which went towards a new plant and machinery and increased its capacity, as well as the range of services it can provide to customers.
Greatorex said the firm had enjoyed a strong year and that, now that Hydram’s services are more attractive to larger customers, the firm will be making further investment to maintain and build upon the new business coming in.
He said: “Last year was a good year in terms of the business and we feel there are still a lot of opportunities to go for in the market, so we think we’ll also see solid growth in the coming year. Being cautious we expect sales to grow by 20%.
“We are still looking to invest too. We’re looking to expand the premises on the existing site, from its current 100,000sq ft by a further 15,000sq ft, mainly to accommodate a paint plant and assembly area.
“We have international customers and more and more of them are wanting us to put parts of metal together and paint them, which is adding more value for customers.
“As part of the Let’s Grow Fund we’re also creating a minimum of 17 jobs. We’ve come to be a sizeable business – around 200 employees – having started with around 60 people.
“The recession took us about four years off plan, but where we are now is where we wanted to be five years ago.
“In all, we’ve had a good year and we’ve worked hard. It’s the result of many years of hard work and investment. We are positioned well.”