Set to create jobs

More than 150 jobs are to be created over the next three years by the Gateshead company that has made a name for itself painting many of the UK's most famous bridges and warships.

Pyeroy

More than 150 jobs are to be created over the next three years by the Gateshead company that has made a name for itself painting many of the UK's most famous bridges and warships.

The UK's largest independent specialist painting contractor, Pyeroy, which employs 900 staff, has seen its turnover increase from £31m in 2001 to £50m this year.

And managing director Hugh Pelham predicts the company's revenues will increase by an average of 7% over the next three to five years and the workforce will grow correspondingly to create at least 150 jobs.

Pyeroy is perhaps best known for its work painting and repairing many well known bridges. Its work includes a £10m contract for the High Level Bridge across the Tyne and a £5m contract for the Forth Rail Bridge

But the company, which has offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland, also paints ships and lighthouses, erects scaffolding, installs insulation, builds homes and is keen to maintain a wide portfolio.

"We have tried to ensure that all parts of the company become more equal in size, therefore if one sector experiences a downturn then we have other areas of the business that can make up the shortfall, effectively recession proofing the business," Mr Pelham said.

"We often get involved in including several different parts of our business on the same project. The client can choose a package of painting, scaffolding and our installation services or they can use just one element.

"We know our strengths and have become specialists in highly demanding projects such as our bridge work or working very successfully with the Ministry of Defence painting and refurbishing their warships.

"About 70% of the Royal Navy's warships currently in existence have been painted by us and we now hold about a 40% market share in that area."

Royal Navy vessels work completed by Pyeroy include HMS Ark Royal which was a £4m 11-month contract that concluded in September 2006 and the £5m RFA Lyme Bay contract, the ship that left Swan Hunter's yard on the Tyne for completion. Mr Pelham said that the MoD refurbishment contracts have reduced over the last two years as resources have been redirected as a result of foreign conflict, but plans for new build contracts will start to come through over the next three-year period. "We are one of two contractors who will be working on the Type 445 Destroyer contract. A contract for up to eight ships which could be worth up to £30m depending on how much of the work we are given."

Two new build aircraft carriers and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers fleet are also scheduled to begin work in two to three years time, contracts that could easily run into the tens of millions of pounds. "Our plan is to gradually expand in our specialist disciplines which also include the petrochemical and power generation sectors."

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