Thetford-based Warren Services is eyeing up major opportunities within the offshore renewables industry after securing a near-£1m deal to buy the former Uniglaze factory in the town to expand the business.
The manufacture of components and mechanical and electrical sub assemblies, based on the Fison Way Industrial Estate, has struck a deal with Uniglaze administrators KPMG to secure the 50,000sq ft site a couple of hundred metres from its current facility.
The purchase was made possible after it secured a loan for nearly £1m from HSBC.
Richard Bridgman, chairman of Warren Services said the new factory would prove a positive addition to the business as it will enable the firm to bid for contracts in the burgeoning offshore renewables sector.
“We are growing in Yarmouth and Lowestoft with renewables and everything to do with that, but what they do is big and this new factory will allow us to do the bigger stuff,” Mr Bridgman said.
The company is going to use the new site as an assembly facility which, due to its high eaves, will enable Warren Services to carry out a lot bigger fabrications. “It will also allow us to expand our new design department where we have just appointed a very experienced design manager and in the next month we are starting an experienced controls manager which means we can now offer complete and comprehensive package to our customers,” Mr Bridgman said.
Warren Services has a turnover of about £6m, but while conditions have been tough, Mr Bridgman, who also advises Norfolk County Council on apprenticeship issues, said he was convinced that the expansion was the right move because of the growth opportunities it would bring.
The company has already invested nearly £750,000 upgrading machinery in the last year, including five axis-milling machines.
And he hoped the factory could accommodate future plans to create an apprentices school to help youngsters acquire the trade skills needed in industries such as engineering, while he has also set up a meeting with skills minister Matthew Hancock to talk about his ideas to boost apprenticeships.
“I see this as key to our growth – why do we want to go anywhere else, when you have got so much growth going on in Great Yarmouth,” he said. “We are already working with major companies there. We will be exhibiting at EEEGR’s southern North Sea conference in March.”
“We currently employ 90 people and in five years time I hope to double that. We only purchased the factory last week and have already taken on two extra personnel, firstly to help with refurbishment.
“If we can get this right, I can also develop my apprentice school in that – that’s the dream. I want to be training 50 apprentices a year, not just for me but for other people.”