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Darlington firms combine for factory expansion contract
A NORTH-EAST construction company is ending the year in confident mood after it landed a multi-million pounds contract to build new headquarters for an expanding manufacturer of subsea equipment.
Family-owned J & RM Richardson is building additional factory and office space for fellow Darlington firm Subsea Innovation Limited, which has outgrown its existing Faverdale North site.
The new facility on nearby greenfield land, which has been designed by Darlington-based Architects Design Group, will be twice the size of Subsea Innovations current home, enabling the ambitious firm to double its workforce to more than 70 staff, and handle larger contracts for clients in the global offshore oil, gas and energy sectors.
Diggers are now on site with building work on the 40,000 sq ft building scheduled to be completed in August.
"We are absolutely delighted to secure another prestigious contract," said John Richardson who established the business with his wife, Ruth, 26 years ago.
"It completes another good year for us and it means that we hit the ground running in 2014," he added.
Nationally, there have been encouraging signs of recovery in some parts of the construction industry during the second half of the year, but many North-East contractors continue to complain of a dearth of work in the region.
"We just keep bucking the trend," added Mr Richardson, who revealed that he is close to securing more major deals in the new year.
"We have a lot of regular clients and get repeat business without work going out to tender. That speaks volumes for the reputation that we have established in this area."
Subsea Innovation is a world leader in the design and build of remotely operated launch and recovery vehicles.
The company also designs and manufactures a wide range of pipeline repair and subsea sealing systems used in the offshore industry.
Construction of a second factory comes just over a year after managing director Martin Moon set a bold target to double sales of 7.5m within three years.
Phil Heathcock, the companys finance director, said: "2013 will be a record year for Subsea Innovation and the continuing buoyancy of the offshore oil and gas market around the world together with the growing number of clients and products the company is producing has led to the decision to invest in a purpose built manufacturing facility.
"The development will enable us to increase the range of products we can offer whilst maintaining the Darlington heritage."
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