Glasgow-based welding firm rides out oil and gas down turn with new nuclear power work

WB Alloy Welding - based in Glasgow - employs 29 people
WB Alloy Welding – based in Glasgow – employs 29 people

A Scottish manufacturer and supplier of welding consumables, equipment and specialised site services headquartered is planning to double its turnover to £20 million by 2021 despite the down turn in the N. Sea oil and gas sector.

WB Alloy Welding – based in Drumchapel, Glasgow – has managed an annual growth rate of 10-12% over the past five years and wants to steadily increase its turnover to £20 million in the next five.

Managing director Paul Houston joined WB Alloys in 1994 and in 2015 acquired the business through a bank-funded management buyout.

While some of WB Alloys’ traditional markets, such as oil and gas and renewable energy, have declined, the firm’s UK and international network, process and product expertise, R&D and business model have protected its growth.

Houston explained: “While some of the markets we were operating have declined overall by around 25-30%, WB Alloys has maintained growth.

“We have continued to grow our customer base and added value chain in construction, defence, nuclear decommissioning and aerospace to combat the drop in energy revenue.

“Long-term nuclear energy contracts are now beginning to bear fruit, with Hinkley Point C now under construction and nuclear decommissioning projects taking off.

“We have two manufacturing centres – at Renfrew and at Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates – and a global network through our partners. The next step is to ramp up our organic growth and acquire businesses that can support our operations and enhance our offer to customers.

“WB Alloys is the last welding consumable manufacturer in the UK, and there is definitely an appetite from customers to ‘buy British’.”

Sharan Sloan, relationship manager at Allied Irish Bank (GB) said: “Since we agreed to finance Paul’s management buyout two years ago, the company has continued its steady growth. Within four months we had a finance agreement ready for Paul, based on his experience, the company’s history and our assessment of its potential.

“Paul has invested in WB Alloy’s growth and reinvigorated its business practices so that it can stand up to the challenges of the marketplace and the wider economy. WB Alloys is a fantastic success story for Scottish manufacturing, and as a bank we are proud to have played a part in its development.”

Allied Irish Bank is a niche, sector-focused business bank that specialises in medium to large-sized businesses.

25 July 2017

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