Strategy change helps Washington glazing firm grow 35%

Fendor Ltd boosts turnover through diversification and new markets leading to hopes of expansion for Washington-based glazing firm

Fendor Ltd now aims to expand by a further 25% during 2014
Fendor Ltd now aims to expand by a further 25% during 2014

A focused change in business strategy has helped a Washington-based glazing firm grow 35% within a single year.

And Fendor Ltd now aims to expand by a further 25% during 2014.

Established in 1982, the specialist glazing company, which produces technically advanced structures in which windows are placed, has traditionally concentrated on commercial offices in the South of England.

However, as the market dwindled, work began to dry up and when managing director Christopher Duffy bought the firm seven years ago, an investment of around £500,000 was made in new equipment, enabling a move into new territories.

Since then, the company has focused increasingly on high security environments like detention centres and mental health facilities, as well taking advantage of opportunities in the North East. In 2013, it was able to grow turnover from around £6.5m to £8.85m.

“If we had remained in our core business of fire glazing, we would no longer be trading,” said Sue Fortune-Duffy, a director at Fendor.

“Through the diversification of both products and markets, we achieved 35% growth during 2013.”

Funding for expansion has come from both fund management companies and a private investor.

“To achieve the growth we have achieved in the current economy is fantastic.” Fortune-Duffy added.

The company, which employs around 65 people, made its first shift into high-security products through work in the banking industry. It then became evident there was a gap in the market for similar specialist services. Moving on to the likes of mental health establishments, Fendor has since created products such as CleanVent, a system that allows a window to be opened and closed while maintaining a high degree of security. Another system, CellGuard, used in custodial applications, allows a barless window that still prevents escape or intrusion from the outside.

Fendor has also made increasing moves towards securing more local contracts, working on the likes of Gateshead’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, student accommodation and Eldon Square shopping centre. It also won a £750,000 contract for the new Aykley Heads police headquarters and has a string of regional contracts in the pipeline.

“It’s been fantastic as we’re based in the North East and we’re proud of that,” Fortune-Duffy said.

The company, which has secured £5m of orders so far this year, has also taken on a new apprentice as well as a graduate trainee, adding to the two engineering apprentices who joined straight from school in 2012. In the medium-term, it will be looking at potential export markets.


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