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Six of the best lift the gloom; Issue of the week: The year ahead.

RECESSION? What recession? The six companies below are bucking the gloom and forging ahead with aggressive expansion plans

TechConsult UK

The Norwegian-owned recruitment company plans to double pounds 2m turnover in 2009 on the back of the global oil and gas and offshore boom.

Revenues of pounds 900,000 in 2007 have been swelled by a string of contract wins including a pounds 100,000 contract to supply up to 50 skilled offshore workers to Darlington sub-sea specialist CTC Marine Projects.

K Home International

A clutch of contract wins has kick-started a major recruitment drive for up to 100 staff at the Thornaby-based firm.

The contracts will contribute to 20-25% additional growth in the fast-growing firm, which last year secured three major contract wins in the Middle East.

Darchem Engineering

Plans to hit pounds 100m turnover by 2013 have been boosted by multi-million pound contract wins with Rolls Royce and The Aircraft Carrier Alliance. Named company of the year at the 2008 North-east Business Awards, Stillington-based Darchem secured a pounds 4m per year deal to develop and supply parts for the aerospace giant's BR 725 engines and an pounds 8m contract to supply parts for the biggest aircraft carriers to be built in Britain.

Listen Loud

If you're good enough you're old enough. Eighteen-year-old Darlington entrepreneur James Ritchie-Bland has defied the credit crunch by building pounds 2m electrical goods business, Listen Loud, and plans to generate pounds 2m profits in two years with a new online venture.

LL Connect will be launched this month to sell website design solutions, stock control management systems and possibly a price comparison site for homeowners.

Contemporary:

The husband and wife partnership behind the Middlesbrough-based salon group are aiming to position Tees Valley as a leading hairdressing centre of excellence to rival London and Leeds.

As well as expanding their pounds 2.9m, eight-salon franchise operation to pounds 5m by 2011, Alan Simpson and Karen Storr Simpson are launching a training academy offering NVQ Level 2 and 3 qualifications to in-house staff and employees in other salons across the region.

CHIPS

The UK's biggest independent video games retailer is planning to double turnover to pounds 20m and create up to 70 jobs in the next few years. Established by Don McCabe and business partner Nik Agar in 1986, the Middlesbrough-based business employs around 100 staff and sells more than 3,500 new and second-hand consoles, games and accessories.

CAPTION(S):

STYLISH: Contemporary's Alan Simpson with wife Karen Storr; GAME FOR GROWTH: Nik Agar, right, and Don McCabe, founders and bosses of games firm Chips
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 6, 2009
Words:429
Previous Article:Will 2009 herald a brighter dawn? We ask local business chiefs what they want from the months ahead.
Next Article:New Year and a new dawn of opportunity? Issue of the week: The year ahead Tees Valley bosses' hopes for a good 2009.

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