New jobs in pipeline as engineering firm Ridgway Machines hoping to triple its workforce
An engineering firm is hoping to triple its workforce in the next 18 months after winning millions of pounds of new overseas contracts.
Ridgway Machines has just taken a lease on 30,000 sq ft premises in Centurion Way, on Meridian Business Park, to help it meet growing demand. For the past six years, it was based in 10,000 sq ft premises in Anstey.
The company designs and builds machines which are used to put coverings on cables, coils, conductors and pipes for the oil, electricity, wind turbine and nuclear energy industries.
Some 80 per cent of the company's work is for overseas markets, including the US, China, Brazil, Spain, Romania and Austria.
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Recent deals include two contracts to supply machines for the 16 billion euro ITER – International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – project in France, which is looking for a clean energy source.
One of the contracts is worth £500,000. The second, worth £150,000, is to build a prototype machine that could lead to a seven-figure deal.
Other clients include firms such as Siemens and Alstom.
Managing director Stephen Hunt, who co-owns Ridgway with technical director Andy Glanville, hoped staff numbers would hit 100 within three years.
He said: "This new building is three times the size of our old one so gives us space to triple in size.
"The move to new premises will help us to service our clients more efficiently and help us to expand the business through an increase in exports, which already make up 80 per cent of our turnover, and the expansion of our high class engineering team.
"We are on a journey and some of the contracts we've been talking to China about are incredible.
"It is our vision to be world leader. It's great to be making units for the ITER project, because it's something that is being done to make sure our grandchildren still have heat when the oil and gas supplies eventually run out.
"This is the future – clean nuclear energy production using hydrogen rather than uranium."
Ridgway's turnover last year was £4 million, which should rise to £6 million this year.
The company is also awaiting news of a £6 million contract with China.
It has launched a national recruitment campaign to help with the expansion and is also building links with universities, colleges and schools. Positions include design engineers, project managers, quality managers, overseas sales staff, marketing staff and machine operatives.
Property agent Innes England helped the company secure the new premises, acting on behalf of former tenant POS Direct.
Peter Doleman, director at Innes England's Leicester office, said: "I am pleased with the outcome we have achieved for all parties.
"Since the start of the year, we have seen an increase in demand for larger units of this size which is very encouraging and reflects well on the current state of the industrial market.
"Meridian is a successful business park and Ridgway will benefit from its ideal location, being adjacent to Junction 21 of the M1, and will sit alongside other successful occupiers including Sytner, Royal Mail, Boden, Samworth Brothers and Macro."