Three decades of rising profit

MTL's managing director, Dr Henry Shirman, (left) and group financial director David O' Hara
MTL's managing director, Dr Henry Shirman, (left) and group financial director David O' Hara
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Leading global mechanical seal manufacturer AES Engineering has a long-standing record as one of Rotherham’s most profitable companies.

The company, which trades as AESSEAL, is the world’s fourth largest mechanical seal manufacturer and has won more Queen’s Awards than any other company in Yorkshire.

AES recently completed its 30th consecutive year of sales and profit growth and says it is on track to increase turnover to more than £151 million in the current year.

The company’s ambitions were given a boost in July when leading US industrial pump and compressor specialist Sundyne appointed the Rotherham firm’s AESPUMP division its sole authorised representative, distributor and service provider for the whole of South Africa.

AESPUMP was founded in 1997 and serves process industries including the petrochemicals, food and drink and pharmaceuticals sector. Earlier this year it expanded its capabilities by acquiring Sussex-based Absolute Vacuum.

The South African success came at the same time as AES set the seal on further growth in the US by opening a £3.3 million extension to its North American headquarters in Rockford, Tennessee.

Second placed London & Scandinavian Metallurgical is a highly successful manufacturer of high specification metals and alloys and a global leader in sustainable metal and powder technology.

The company makes a range of specialised products for the aluminium, steel, aerospace, superalloys, hard facing, welding and glass industries and exports more than 85 per cent of its output.

Contract manufacturing specialist MTL Group has more than doubled its profit from £1.1 million to £2.4 million to re-enforce its position as one of Rotherham’s most profitable manufacturers.

The company, which started out as a family business 18 years ago has grown faster than ever since a Management Buy In Buy Out in 2006, led by former Ford and JCB executive Dr Henry Shirman.

From contract laser cutting and bending metal plate to make components for construction and quarrying equipment, MTL now supplies the defence, renewable energy, offshore oil and gas, construction, quarrying, rail and recycling industries.

Two years ago, MTL consolidated its activities, which had been in four factories on three sites. The move to Grange Lane, Rotherham more than doubled the space MTL had available in addition to providing extra land for further growth. Since then, the company, whose blue chip clients include defence contractor BAE Systems and earth moving equipment specialist Caterpillar, has won some of its largest ever export orders, taking exports from less than one per cent of turnover to 22 per cent, with products being shipped to the Middle East, Africa, North America and India, as well as mainland Europe.

Just below MTL in the Rotherham rankings of profitable manufacturers comes temporary fencing, hoardings, pedestrian barriers and site safety equipment specialist ZND UK. The company, part of Dutch group ZND Draad, set up operations in a 173,000 sq ft factory at Parkgate in 2010.