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Business & Economy

Reece Group “well placed to weather storm” after strong results

An engineering operator says it is “well placed to weather the COVID-19 storm” after a raft of new contracts helped swell its financial standing.

Reece Group says it has a “very stable foundation from which to move forward” following a 48 per cent increase in annual turnover to £64.6 million, and a 42 per cent rise in gross profits.

Bosses say the firm was aided by strong progress in its Pearson Engineering business, which designs and makes equipment for armoured vehicles.

According to its results – which cover the year ending December 2019 – turnover at the venture nearly doubled to £41 million, as new contracts were complemented by several long-term research and development projects reaching the final implementation and production stages.

The company was also helped by its Velocity road repair service endeavour, which achieved its largest machine order to date in 2019.

Responsive Engineering – the third subsidiary in Reece Group’s portfolio – suffered a trading loss of £2.2 million.

However, officials say they remain confident of its future performance, revealing a shift in activities and refocusing of manufacturing operations “will create a more robust foundation from which to move forward.”

Commenting on the results, John Reece, director of Reece Group – which employs more than 350 staff across its Newcastle-based Armstrong Works site and a sister Sunderland base – said the figures reflect a positive period that has already provided much-needed momentum given the impact of COVID-19.

He said: “Overall, these are positive results (and) we are in a good position.

“They are testament to the hard work, knowledge and commitment of staff, as well as the support of our clients, stakeholders and supply chain partners over recent years.

“2019 was a very productive year where we made continuous investment in skills, staff, facilities and innovation to help shape the vision for the group as well as the focus and direction of our individual companies.”

Despite the impact of COVID-19, John said Reece Group is well placed to grow, citing potential new work for Pearson Engineering and Responsive Engineering in the defence sector, and work on areas such as pot-hole repairs for Velocity.

He added: “We are at the forefront of a major global industry that is highly competitive, but Reece Group is continuing to develop and manufacture advanced, specialist products that are simply world-class.

“While we are in a good position overall, like all businesses we must be flexible and responsive to a changing and volatile economy.

“The UK is likely to be in recovery for some time to come and while no one can predict what will happen, I believe that we are well placed to weather the storm and any impact that may follow.”

John also revealed Reece Group’s 2019 performance included a continued commitment to community-led projects in Newcastle’s west end, which has seen the business donate almost £1 million over the last five years.

It also continued to help youngsters on STEM-based learning programmes through its backing of the Reece Foundation.