ENGINEERING: Record sales at AESSEAL as Rotherham firm invests in future

Stephen Shaw, engineering director AESSEAL, with the firm's 13 Queen's Awards

Stephen Shaw, engineering director AESSEAL, with the firm's 13 Queen's Awards

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Legendary Rotherham seal maker AES Engineering posted a record sales month in March – and a huge improvement on its previous best.

Founder and managing director Chris Rea has hailed the “magnificent achievement” after the company notched up global sales of £15,947,000 – almost £2m higher than the previous high of £13,969,000.

Stephen Shaw, Group Engineering Director, Jon Hilton, President of IMechE and Chris Rea, Managing Director. Picture: Marie Caley NSST AESSEAL MC 3

Stephen Shaw, Group Engineering Director, Jon Hilton, President of IMechE and Chris Rea, Managing Director. Picture: Marie Caley NSST AESSEAL MC 3

At the same time, it reached a milestone of £100m of net assets invested in the business – and founder and managing director Chris Rea believes the two records are connected.

AES Engineering is the parent of mechanical sealmaker AESSEAL based on Bradmarsh Business Park, Rotherham. The company has received 13 Queens Awards – the highest business accolade in the country – and has been the most profitable firm in Rotherham for years.

In a note to staff he said: “In a time of decline for all of our major competitors, due to the low price of oil and the lack of business in that area, this is a magnificent achievement. I remain convinced that people are the most important ingredient for business success and the results are testament to your hard work and commitment to customer service. I am proud and delighted with all of you for what you have done and continue to do to give our customers exceptional service.”

AESSEAL is on target to beat a target of £160m sales for 2017.

Mr Rea added: “Part of it has come from the weakness of sterling, which means that international sales have been translated into a higher sterling number. We have also been helped by the fact that we had a 23-day month as in 2017 Easter falls in April.

“Nonetheless, March saw another important milestone, in that our group had £100m of net assets after depreciation, supporting our £160m-plus 2017 sales target. Many would question that level of investment in each pound of sales as over-investment.

“In my view, investment in our future is a key contributor to our ongoing success and that with higher levels of investment in people and infrastructure like machine tools and information technology, we get sustainability and with it security for all of us.

“In short, we did get a record sales month and coincidentally the £100m milestone of net assets invested in the business could be a part of the reason for a sustainable business.”

At a Star round table in January, engineering director Stephen Shaw revealed the extent of the company’s planning.

He said then: “AES is overly invested. We have spent upwards of £4m on machinery last year that we don’t need.

“We have 20 per cent of extra capacity in our group that we will need in two years’ time and it will need three years to get that optimised.

“It can cost five to six million pounds to buy machinery.

“And if you can afford it, it can take a year or two after it arrives in the factory to get the methodology completely refined so you make a product in half the time.”