South Shields company plans to recruit as turnover is set to hit £8million

A South Shields firm is set to see turnover exceed £8million just three years after being set up.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 09:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 09:28 am
Robert Forsyth (left) and Coun Iain Malcolm

Metec Cathodic Protection (UK) is planning to increase staff numbers after securing a range of international contracts secured in the ship build/repair, ports and harbours, offshore renewable and oil and gas sectors.

The firm employs 37 staff, including 15 jobs saved after the closure of a local foundry in 2016, with varying skills from corrosion protection engineers, design engineers and coded welders as well as its dedicated specialist foundry personnel.

Cathodic protection is a corrosion control technique essential for aggressive offshore and marine environments; protecting metal structures and vessels.

Metec commercial director Robert Forsyth said: "Cathodic protection is the belt and braces to protective coating systems and specified in most ship build/ship repair, harbour, renewable energy and offshore projects.

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"Each project we undertake is unique. Different structures in shallower or deeper water, in different environments. What we deliver is tailored to the structure and the environment, to maximise its lifespan."

The firm’s recently completed projects include the East Anglia and Hornnsea ONE Offshore windfarms as well as a an oil and gas platform for The Statoil Perrigrino field in offshore Brazil - Statoil’s largest field outside of Norway.

The firm works closely with its international group partners and has specialists in Nigeria and Tunisia who specialise in pipeline corrosion protection systems.

This year the company will export internal and external anti-corrosion cathodic protection to Germany and Belgium for the Borssele Offshore Windfarm in the North Sea - providing sustainable energy to five million Dutch households. Two export contract for Israeli Oil and Gas firm Energean will see Metec UK’s products exported to Romania and Greece for a platform jacket and pipeline contract in the Black Sea and Mediterranean.

The company has further strengthened its position in the ship building and ship repair industries by setting up consignment stock agreements in 2019 with large users in Germany, Holland, Denmark, The Faroe Islands and Latvia.

"Though not a lot of companies do what we do, competition is tight," said Mr Forsyth.

"There are a few small foundries in the UK, but our current capacity is over 100 tonnes per week, together with our African facilities it’s over 400 tonnes, which gives us the edge.

"In 2019 we’re installing a new bulk melting furnace here in South Shields to further increase our capacity.’

"Our growth has come from a combination of industry contacts and the strong financial backing we have through our holding company. We’ve invested £3 million in our machinery, facilities and staff to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities that are there.

“Oil and gas is on the increase again, while offshore wind is growing bigger and bigger almost by the day. Our offshore order book is very healthy with some very big projects in the pipeline that will keep this facility busy for another year.”

"South Tyneside Council have been really supportive on a variety of issues as we have grown, helping us sort out any potential local issues to keep us on track. The way the council works with local business is so much better than what I’ve seen in other boroughs. We’re very lucky on that score."

Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm said: "I visited this facility when it was first set up in South Tyneside. Robert and the team have achieved so much in the few years since then. A lot of this is down to the skills and talent available to expand their expertise from here in the borough.

"I’m delighted that the firm is able to expand and provide another welcome jobs boost for local people. We look forward to supporting METEC as the company grows on an international scale."