December 1, 2020 @ 16:36 by Steven Hugill
A County Durham marine engineering firm has been forced to cut jobs after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tekmar Group has trimmed its workforce by six per cent – and is reviewing more efficient use of its manufacturing footprint – after coronavirus caused “significant disruption across the globe (and) created inefficiencies in the supply chain”.
However, bosses at the Newton Aycliffe-based operator say they have “profound confidence in the fundamentals” of the business, adding its “leading market position, expertise and ability” leave it well positioned to take advantage of future opportunities in the lucrative offshore wind sector.
The company – known for its flagship TEKLINK underwater cable protection system that supports energy developments – revealed its job cuts in a trading update today (Tuesday, December 1) that covers the six-month period to September 30.
The results showed revenue had fallen from £17.1 million a year ago to £15.2 million. Its order book was down from £15.9 million to £10 million.
Confirming its employee changes, and the prospect for future operational adjustments, chief executive Alasdair MacDonald said the operator “is now best-placed to weather the short-term disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He also reiterated its focus on the offshore wind market.
He said: “The first half of the financial year was one of the most demanding periods the company has faced, and we responded swiftly to the unprecedented headwinds presented by COVID-19 by taking actions to reduce costs and protect the group’s liquidity.
“We took the difficult decision to reduce headcount by six per cent and are currently reviewing more efficient use of the group’s manufacturing footprint, reducing this by 25 per cent, which includes changing our registered office in the new year.
“However, we are being careful to retain our skill base to ensure all our businesses are in a position to meet demand when the market starts to flow again.
“The long-term fundamentals within the offshore wind market remain compelling.
“I have no doubt we can capitalise on the structural growth forecast in our core market and deliver sustainable returns for our shareholders.
“While the team has weathered a difficult year, it has brought our businesses together, making the sum of the individual parts greater.
“This has become a year of transition for us and we will emerge from it stronger.”
Tekmar Group includes Tekmar Energy, Ryder Geotechnical, Agiletek Engineering, Subsea Innovation, Pipeshield and Tekmar China.