A Welsh engineering business that supplied parts that helped keep the RAF’s Spitfires flying during World War 2 has achieved record-breaking export sales after expanding into new international markets.
Llanelli-based Teddington Engineered Solutions has seen its turnover grow by 18% in the last two years, largely thanks to export sales which made up 66% of the firm’s total sales in the last financial year.
Established in the 1920s, Teddington designs and manufactures expansion joints for a range of industries including aerospace, marine, nuclear power and defence. The joints compensate movement in pipe work caused by temperature change, pressure or vibration.
The company has exported its products to more than 90 countries since 2003, with China, the Middle East and Europe being among its largest markets.
Now for the first time it has entered a developing sector within the steel industry – manufacturing expansion joints for use within direct reduced iron steel plants. Direct iron reduction allows steel to be made more cheaply as it removes the need for conventional blast furnaces, instead using alternatives such as electric arc furnaces.
Jason Thomas, Commercial Director at Teddington Engineered Solutions said:
“Our order book has increased significantly over the last two years, so much so that it reached a record high recently. It’s all down to exports and securing contracts with new clients.
“We’ve been trying for many years to get into this specialised steel making industry so doing so is a real breakthrough for us. We’ve already supplied three contracts since April last year and have been assured that we are the preferred bidder for future contracts.”
Originally specialising in solutions for the aircraft industry, the years after World War 2 saw Teddington diversify into new sectors such as the petrochemical industry, with the firm selling its expansion joints all over the world.
Key to the company’s export growth, Teddington has received a range of support from Welsh Government export specialists including help with trade missions, exhibitions and identifying trade opportunities, as well as general export advice.
The company’s firm focus on international trade has resulted in a nearly 30% increase in staff over the past four years with Teddington now becoming one of the largest employers in the area.
China is one of the firm’s largest markets. Teddington was the first company to supply bellows for the LNG tankers that are currently being built in China and is also a leading supplier for the nuclear industry in the country. It is now looking to secure similar work elsewhere.
Speaking about the company’s international success Mr Thomas added: “We buck the trend compared to a lot of UK companies which import their product from China. Instead, we export into China. It’s a specialised product and in many industries, our engineering experience along with a reliable, quality product makes choosing Teddington an easy choice.
“The same goes for the Middle East, there are no reputable manufacturers of our product in the area. So the need for overseas expertise is required to resolve issues, design and manufacture solutions.”
In the Middle East, Teddington has been involved in some very prestigious projects. In Dubai alone, it has supplied Dubai airport, the metro system, the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the biggest mall in the world and the Palm Jumeirah.