AN engineering company specialising in fire, blast and noise protection products for the top of oilrigs is looking for growth after a jump in revenues.
Darlington-based Mech-Tool said the growth of the oil and gas sector is confident after seeing one of the most successful years in its 43-year history, with a turnover of more than £16m and profits of £600,000.
The company sells 75% of its products abroad, although it deals with firms including OGN Hereema and Amec in the North East.
Its success in the year to the end of March from the previous year’s £14.2m turnover was down in part to a £15m contract on a major project off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island.
Director Marshall Garner expects growth to continue with the continuing rise in deals in the booming offshore market.
“We have been working with the oil and gas business for more than 40 years and we are seeing growth there and not in our other markets.
“The offshore wind sector is not benefiting from a lot of clarity in terms of Government policy and a failure to give money to large projects where we are not confident we would get a return on investments.
“But oil and gas is only growing and if we look to 2013 I think we will see a very high level of investment not only in current projects but new schemes in the North Sea.
“We have a strong industry in this area in the North East and customers are looking for the quality of work that you get from Europe.”
Mech-Tool has two business units: one manufacturing lightweight modular units, the other fabricating fire and blast protection products to protect workers in hazardous environments.
The company, which has its head offices and main fabrication facilities across two sites in Darlington, as well as a second manufacturing operation at AV Dawson, on the banks of the River Tees in Middlesbrough, employs 170 people.
The company started as a toolmaker but turned to design and fabrication of heat shields and blast protection panels for offshore platforms, and more recently expanded into a number of areas including modular control rooms and living quarters, acoustic shielding, enclosures and ventilation systems.
The firm has since restructured into three divisions – fire and blastwall products, modular products and acoustic products – and has seen its order book rocket as a result.
Mech-Tool business manager Matthew Camp said: “Our activity has grown across a range of markets and we have been boosted by the operations off Sakhalin Island, where we have provided products for an offshore fixed platform.
“The growth of the renewables market and our sustained presence as a major supply chain company for the oil, gas and nuclear markets puts the company in a strong position.
“We have also taken steps to increase our presence in developing markets, such as becoming a part of the newly-formed Energi Coast, North East England’s Renewable Group.
“By developing traditional manufacturing techniques to suit these industries, the company has continued to thrive as a supplier of bespoke products and a significant regional employer.”