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Growing Tanfield doubles its orders.

Byline: By Graeme King

Manufacturing company Tanfield Group has doubled its order book in the past 12 months and is on the verge of making a major acquisition.

The AIM listed business, which went through a reverse takeover with its Comeleon offshoot at the end of last year, yesterday reported turnover of pounds 5m for the six months to June 30 this year, and said there would be much more to come.

Though the company made a pre-tax loss of pounds 2.5m, gross profits stood at pounds 3m before allowing for write-offs and exceptional costs associated with the group's exit from the automotive components sector.

Tanfield said it is in the final stages of securing its latest acquisition, believed to be a North-East company, and the group is also understood to be close to a deal with a US Defence Department supplier which could be worth an eight-figure sum to Tanfield.

Chief executive Roy Stanley said he wasn't able to comment on either the acquisition or the new contract, but said Tanfield Group as a whole was performing well, and his only frustration was in not being able to hire enough staff for the contracts the company was winning.

He said: "In April 2003 we had a workforce of 130 employees, and in 15 months it has grown from 130 to 230, and we are still recruiting. Right now we could use another 30 people.

"The only downside at the moment is it's hard getting people. Employment levels are relatively high in the economy at the moment. The pool of labour available to us has definitely shrunk in the past 18 months."

Tanfield has grown its order book by making a conscious move away from traditional engineering activities and into higher margin manufacturing and technical assembly markets.

It said yesterday it had moved from sub-contract engineering with a relatively "short horizon" order book, to one involved in delivering specialist technical assembly as part of longer-term contracts with blue chip clients.

Tanfield has won a series of contracts in the health, defence, industrial vehicle and power generation sectors and the company has reported that the value of its order book at the end of the period to June 30 was more than double the size it was at the same time last year.

Mr Stanley said Tanfield had recently raised pounds 4m in the London markets, but Mr Stanley said not all these funds were going into the new acquisition ( and pledged that Tanfield would try to develop any acquisitions.

He said: "We have recently raised pounds 4m in the markets, but we are not spending all that on this acquisition. Whatever acquisition we make, our intention will not be to reduce the number of people, but to grow the business."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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