Engineering group British Engines will use an £800,000 grant award to redevelop and grow its Tyneside base.
The company will invest the money from the Let’s Grow Regional Growth Fund into its St Peter’s site in Newcastle, allowing its BEL Valves division to expand.
BEL Valves supplies high-pressure valves to the oil and gas industry and currently shares the St Peter’s site with another division of the British Engines business, Rotary Power, which has 35 years’ experience in the design and development of hydraulic equipment.
But with the previously announced move of Rotary Power to a new purpose-built 150,000 sq ft base on the Simonside Industrial Estate in South Shields this autumn, the Let’s Grow grant will allow the redevelopment of the St Peter’s site and expansion of BEL Valves, which employs more than 450 people.
The Let’s Grow Fund is a much-lauded collaboration between The Journal, BE Group and UNW LLP which provides grant support for capital investment and research and development projects creating or safeguarding jobs in the North East, and British Engines chairman Alex Lamb welcomed the grant.
Group chairman Alex Lamb said: “The investment from the Let’s Grow fund is a real vote of confidence in our business and we applaud this initiative by The Journal and its partners to invest in the North East’s economic future through its traditional manufacturing strengths.
“The grant will allow us to redevelop our St Peter’s base and that will help us grow our BEL Valves division which plays such an important part of our overall business.”
British Engines employs 1,100 people across its six divisions with the majority in the North East, but also with employees across the UK and internationally, and has been based at St Peter’s since 1922 when Mr Lamb’s grandfather and great uncle set up the business.
British Engines has also revealed a growth in turnover and pre-tax profits in its annual report and accounts for the year ended May 2013.
The group grew turnover by 27%, up from £109.6m in 2012 to £139.1m, resulting in an increase in pre-tax profit of £5.4m.
This growth allowed the group to boost the level of investment in the business, with a 180pc increase in capital expenditure to £13.6m and a 29pc increase in research and development spend.
Over the past year, the group also created 123 new jobs.
Lamb added: “During the year, many of the group’s markets have, in the main, remained buoyant.
“The global economic outlook remains uncertain, but the group is well-positioned to continue its growth.”