I want to invest in region, says boss

A manufacturing entrepreneur has bought a County Durham precision engineering business and aims to make two more acquisitions over the next two months.

A manufacturing entrepreneur has bought a County Durham precision engineering business and aims to make two more acquisitions over the next two months. Vincent Bootes has bought £3m turnover Durham Precision Engineering (DPE), which is next to his £15m turnover automotive parts business Tolwood Technologies on Aycliffe Industrial Park in Newton Aycliffe.

He said: "I have ambitious plans for acquiring and investing in a number of businesses in the North-East. Although nothing is finalised, I would expect at least two more acquisitions in the next two months." He is looking to invest in DPE, which makes precision machined components.

Tom Stoddart, who built up DPE over 20 years, will stay on as managing director at the company, which has 45 staff.

Mr Bootes said: "An opportunity came up to purchase the DPE business and the freehold for the factory and I will be looking to invest in growing the business over the coming months.

"I am an outside engineering investor who has business links with the region. Historically, companies go to the wall because people aren't prepared to put their necks on the line and invest in engineering.

"All that is needed is a level playing field and UK companies can compete by supplying high quality engineering." Mr Bootes, who brought Tolwood Technologies out of administration, saving more than 100 jobs in November 2005, said he has since invested £2m in that business, which has seen staff numbers rise to 120.

"I am expecting sales to have risen at Tolwood from £15m to £20m by the end of this year - business is buoyant," he said.

That company has achieved growth by winning new customers, including Toyota and Honda, as well as keeping main customer Nissan.

Mr Bootes also owns a specialist machining company in Mitcham, Surrey, called PG Technology and he is hoping newly acquired DPE can supply its services to the same customers in the aerospace, motor sport, medical and oil and gas sectors.

He said: "We intend to strengthen the links between DPE and PG Technology to increase our competitiveness and allow us to offer unrivalled cost, quality and delivery.

"In that way, we will build a wider customer base for higher-added-value, high precision components, as we have done at Mitcham, and in particular will be further developing our work in all the sectors in which we currently operate."

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