Milestone for recession-proof South Tyneside company

Booming firm ... David Lindsay, Kevin McLaughlin  and Beryl Duffy of HVR International, celebrating 21 years of business.
Booming firm ... David Lindsay, Kevin McLaughlin and Beryl Duffy of HVR International, celebrating 21 years of business.

CHAMPAGNE corks popped when a recession-proof South Tyneside company celebrated its coming of age with record output figures.

HVR International has not made a single redundancy since it was launched 21 years ago, but has instead consistently increased staff and turnover.

Profits are booming and the recession has not affected the company, which is securing new customers in offshore markets.

Bottles of champagne were distributed among the 110-strong workforce at the company’s headquarters at Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, as employees celebrated the ongoing success of HVR.

The firm manufactures ceramic high-voltage resistors for companies throughout the world, including Germany, Canada and the USA, South America, India and China.

Company technical director Kevin McLaughlin said: “Our output for last month was worth a record £1.25m, and our order placements are as high as they’ve ever been.

“We have just taken on four agency staff, which takes our workforce up to 110, and we are winning new contracts in wind farms off Scotland and in the Baltic Sea.

“There was a slight hiatus in about June of last year, when there seemed to be a slowdown of capital power projects, but we still never made a single redundancy and our order book has never been better.”

Launched on April 9, 1991, HVR International achieved sales of £1.5m and employed just 25 staff in its first year.

But annual turnover for the Jarrow site alone now stands at £9.5m, with a workforce of more than 100, while the HVR group as a whole, which includes small plants in Birmingham and Germany, employs 140 staff and saw latest turnover rise to £12.5m.

HVR, which secured the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2009, has also never seen a single strike in all its 21 years.

Staff have enjoyed pay increases of no less than three per cent every year, and the company has paid bonuses of £1.6m over the last five years alone.

Six of the original 25 employees are still with the firm, while loyal worker Beryl Duffy will complete 40 years’ service on the same site when she retires in June, having started work when the company operated as the former Allen Bradley.

Part of the success of HVR International, which has sales representatives in 13 countries, is put down to the long-term contracts it has forged with power companies throughout the world.

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