GLASS manufacturer Romag is to raise £7.7m on the stock market to pay for massive expansion at its North-East factory.
Dozens of jobs are expected to be created at County Durham Romag, as chief executive Lyn Miles and her team invest in two new production lines.
Romag’s broker Brewin Dolphin is predicting sales will almost double next year, from £16.5m currently to £30m, even before the new investment has had a chance to take effect.
The Consett company’s PowerGlaz product, which will be installed in an HQ for London Mayor Ken Livingston next to Tower Bridge, integrates solar power cells into windows.
It has already proved popular and is benefiting from a market which is growing at around 40% per year.
Ms Miles said: “When we floated the company in 2003, one of the reasons was to invest in production facilities for PowerGlaz.
“As the market has developed, we have found that it is increasing by 40% per annum, which is amazing growth in any market, and Romag’s product range is different to what is available generally. Ours is a bespoke ‘building integrated’ range of products that has not been readily available in the last few years, but our name is now coming up on people’s radar.
“Market conditions have now led us to increase our production capacity perhaps a little faster than we previously thought.
“Our second production line was fully commissioned on July 1, on time and on budget, but now we need to invest in additional capacity.”
The existing two production lines – the newest having just begun work on July 1 – stand in a 50,000sqft factory but currently only around half the space is in use.
The new lines will be constructed in the spare space and will take output at the site from the current 12 megawatts to 28 megawatts.
The £7.7m will be raised through placing just over 4.5 million new shares with UK institutional investors at a price of 170p per share.
The boss’s confidence is borne out of PowerGlaz sales in the six months to March 31 this year increasing by 80% compared to 2006.
The two new production lines are expected to be in operation by next summer or autumn.
PowerGlaz can be found in such high-profile sites as the Eden Project in Cornwall and at the Science Museum in central London.
Ms Miles declined to say exactly how many new staff she will require when the new lines are running.