Kilrea company targets growth

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A KILREA engineering company has predicted further growth and a move into new markets in the coming years thanks to an investment of over £2 million in new state-of-the-art technology in the last 18 months.

SJC Hutchinson Engineering – which last year celebrated its 40th birthday – says that the investment has enabled it to increase efficiencies and reduce customer costs and is already reporting a steady increase in sales as a result, despite the current challenging economic climate.

Having invested over £100,000 in staff training and development in the last year, and with plans to expand its plant by a further 11,000 sq ft making it one of the largest plants of its kind in Northern Ireland, Managing Director Mark Hutchinson is confident that Hutchinson Engineering is in a strong market position. He said: “We have seen steady organic growth and expansion since we were first established in 1971 and reported significant growth in our 40th year last year.

“Our investment in new technology and machinery over the past 18 months has given us a strong competitive edge - enabling us to expand our workforce, increase efficiencies in terms of the speed of the manufacturing process and keep costs down for our customers. As a result, we are already seeing a marked increase in sales and are optimistic that this trend will continue.”

Initially established to serve the local agricultural industry, Hutchinson Engineering has since diversified into new markets, now also producing specialist components for the coach building, quarrying and road transport industries. In the past 18 months the company has invested in three flat-bed laser cutting machines costing £700,000 each and is the only company in Ireland to have a 3D tube laser cutter, costing £800,000.

With the majority of its clients exporting to markets outside of the UK and Ireland, Hutchinson Engineering plays a vital role in supporting some of Northern Ireland’s leading exporters such as Wrightbus. While the majority of the company’s work has been based in Northern Ireland, Mr Hutchinson said that it is now in a good position to break into the export market.

“As part of our growth strategy we are actively looking to export to the rest of the UK and Ireland and our investment programme in the past 18 months has given us the potential to export further afield to Europe and the Middle-East,” he continued.

“These new opportunities have reaffirmed the importance of investing in our company in order to grow, and this has only been possible with the ongoing support of Northern Bank, with whom we have banked for over 40 years now. Its asset finance facility in particular has been extremely important to us, enabling us to purchase some of the technology that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford and consequently putting us in a much stronger market position.”