By Martin Walker
The family steel firm which is helping to bring train-building back to the North-East is on course to smash its record turnover after celebrating a string of multi-million pound contract wins.
Finley Structures, based on Aycliffe Business Park, has recently completed 1,600 tonnes of a 2,000-tonne project to fabricate and erect the steel for Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m train-building factory in Newton Aycliffe for main contractors Shepherd Construction.
Finley has also recently completed a 1,400-tonne project for Nissan, constructing the steel frame for the Japanese car manufacturer’s new facility in Washington, and is currently working on a 300-tonne contract for the National Biologics Centre in Darlington for contractors Interserve.
In addition, Finley has just started work on Middlesbrough Council’s state-of-the-art Sports Village, erecting 500 tonnes of steel for main contractor Willmott Dixon.
And the Aycliffe company has now won a 500-tonne contract for Bam Construction at Teesside University, due to start in September, as well as a 1,900-tonne project for Sir Robert McAlpine at the £650m Victoria Gate retail development in Leeds, which is planned to open in late 2016.
At the same time, Finley is working on several projects simultaneously for Shepherd Construction as well as two 280-tonne projects for the Poniel Warehouses in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, for Muir Construction.
It represents a strong first half year for the company, with orders in the current financial year, beginning in April, currently totalling £13.8m, meaning it’s already on course to smash its current record turnover of £13.1m.
The firm’s managing director Julie Finley, pictured above at the Hitachi site, said: “We’re currently working on six major contracts, with more than 2,000 tonnes of steel going through our factory over the next 10 weeks, which demonstrates our capabilities to take on and deliver multiple, complex projects.
“Significant investments have also been made recently and now we’re looking to make the next step and keep investing to ensure we’re always improving and increasing capacity.
“As we are trying to be more efficient rather than just chasing turnover, we are currently introducing a more efficient method within the paint area by introducing dual pumping for the painting of the steelwork.
“Bolstering the management team and investing in new kit is all geared towards increasing the firm’s production and capacity to be able to take on more.”
Finley’s currently have between 180 and 200 tonnes of steel going through the factory every week but the ambition is to get that up to around the 300-tonne mark.
Founded by John Finley in 2000, Finley Structures has increased its workforce in the last year to cope with a strong order book, up to 60 full-time employees, while its sister company, SCH Site Services, currently employs 34 people, making a total of 94 staff combined.
They are now looking to take on extra platers and welders in the coming weeks and months to help their buoyant shop floor deal with the extra work along with the implementation of new ideas.