Innovative oil and gas specialist FES has boosted sales by more than a third to £14.97m despite the downturn triggered by sliding oil prices.
The Ashington-based business, which designs and manufactures fluid transfer solutions for clients in the offshore industry, said the year ended July 2014 had been yet another profitable one, in spite of the crisis which has led to losses and redundancies at many other firms.
However, directors said they were bracing themselves for tougher times ahead.
Turnover for Flexible Engineered Solutions Holdings Ltd, which includes total group sales and its share of joint ventures, reached £14.97m, a 35% lift on the previous 12 months’ £11.04m.
Meanwhile, operating profit came in at £4.45m, a lift on the previous year’s £4.12m, while pre-tax profits rose 11% to £4.44m.
An analysis of turnover showed UK turnover was slashed from £2.7m to £984,000 but US sales grew from £1.6m to £2.1m. European sales, excluding the UK, also shot up, from £2.7m to £4.9m.
Sales from the rest of the world – £6.9m – had almost doubled in the period, accounting for 46% of all turnover.
By the year end, shareholders’ funds had increased from £7.4m to £11.2m, and headcount also grew, with the average number of staff employed by the group growing from 32 to 40, pushing up the wages bill from £1.29m to £1.44m.
Reviewing the business, FES owner and managing director Rob Anderson said: “We are pleased to be able to report another profitable trading year despite the recent downturn within the oil and gas industry.
“This has been achieved by continuing to provide high quality services and goods to an expanding international client base, our ability to maintain this high quality has also enhanced our worldwide reputation.
“Whilst we expand our international client base we remain proud that we still maintain strong relationships over many years with our existing customers.
“Due to the current market conditions within the oil and gas industry we acknowledge that there may be difficulties in the next few years.
“However, we believe that due to our string footing in this industry and our healthy order book for future projects that these difficulties can be overcome.”
Since the year end, Mr Anderson has teamed up Cramlington-based Techflow to capitalise on demand from existing clients of FES’ fluid transfer systems, for other specialist subsea products.
Operating as FES Subsea and based in Ashington, Northumberland, the partnership aims to deliver made-to-order items.
Several lucrative deals have also been secured in the new financial year, including a $2m contract to supply bend stiffener connectors to oil and gas contractor Saipem, to be used on a Nigerian offshore development and a share in a $40m deal to supply a Malaysian oil field.