200 jobs in £20m expansion plan at Rotherham seal manufacturer

A Rotherham seal manufacturer is celebrating its 40th year with plans to spend £20m doubling the size of its headquarters and creating 200 jobs.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 6:17 pm
Image of AESSEAL's new development.
Image of AESSEAL's new development.

AESSEAL has submitted plans for a new building on land next to its base on Mill Close, Templeborough.

It would include a 50,000 sq ft single-storey machine shop with a range of computerised machine tools, and a large engineering design office, and two-storey offices.

It will be linked to the existing building with a two-storey glazed structure featuring a new single entrance to the facility.

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AESSEAL founder and MD Chris Rea.

AESSEAL designs and makes mechanical seals and support systems for industries including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals,

Established in 1979, it has grown from a small distribution business based on Attercliffe Road, Sheffield, to a £180m turnover manufacturing giant employing more than 1,800 across the world.

Having expanded in Rotherham in four phases in the last 20 years, AESSEAL, today employs more than 350 in the town and is one of its biggest private sector employers.

Founder and managing director of AES Engineering, Chris Rea, said: “Our organisation, subject to planning approval, intends to make an additional investment of £20 million in Rotherham, which will create 200 jobs.

“We intend to build a BREEAM excellent building, to a standard that will be exceptional for a business of our scale anywhere in the world.

“The investment will include state-of-the art robotic machinery and autonomous vehicles and is a part of our extensive Digital Roadmap.

“The investment would not be appropriate for AESSEAL plc, but is entirely appropriate for the AES Engineering Ltd. Group, which we intend to develop into a £300 million annual turnover business in my lifespan as a director.

“There is no Government or other money involved in the investment. We earn our money in the global market place and we drive our sales through 40 internal subsidiary businesses that we own and operate around the world. Their purpose is to provide orders for high technology products which are largely produced in the United Kingdom.

“On the day the factory is occupied it is likely to be the most modern and advanced of its kind, but just for that day.

“Much more importantly it is likely to be sustainable and the total investment would make it nearly impossible for any future owner of the business to cease operations in Rotherham. The board of directors of AES Engineering Ltd unanimously approved the investment, despite the fact that we could have developed a less stunning and technologically advanced business unit anywhere else for considerably less.

“The building will not be my legacy, but it is gift and repayment to the people of Rotherham, including Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

“Thirty five years ago our business was on Attercliffe Road, the proposed site for an Enterprise Zone which, for whatever reason, never happened.

“RMBC enthusiastically embraced the Enterprise Zone and welcomed the nine-person business that we (AESSEAL) were and encouraged the development of our organisation on a tiny site on the Enterprise Zone on the Barbot Hall Industrial Estate.

“This £20 million investment, if approved, will lead to the creation of 200 additional jobs as long as we continue to provide exceptional service to our customers and they reward us with even more business.”

The group has 230 locations worldwide, supplying customers in 104 countries and employs a global network of sales engineers and technical support specialists.

Group turnover rose 6.3 per cent from £170.6m to £181.3m in the year to December 31 2018, with organic sales growth of eight per cent when adjusted for acquisitions and currency fluctuations.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – EBITDA is a measure of profit - increased 15.7 per cent to £34.7m.

Group net assets rose to £122.8m, an increase of 18.6 per cent from 2017, and the group held a positive cash balance of £16.5m at year end, despite increasing capital expenditure which included £6.8m on additional nine and 11-axis computerised machine tools.