Growth plans for town firm

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AN electronics firm has announced plans to turn its Hartlepool site into a centre of excellence.

Stadium Electronics plant in Brenda Road, has been earmarked as the focus for the company’s future investment and the project is already under way with 55 new workers and millions of pounds in machinery having just arrived.

New chief executive Charlie Peppiatt said it was all part of a plan which would see “organic growth” for the company which had come through years of downturn.

He added: “We have a strategy for Hartlepool to be the centre of excellence and the centre of our European operations.

“Growth will happen in Hartlepool.”

Bosses said they did not want to be specific about contract wins but Mr Peppiatt added: “We are starting to see the green shoots of recovery. We have significant scope and room for growth.”

He said the 6,000 square metre Hartlepool plant was still at only about 60 per cent of capacity but he added: “We have ramped up our activities in Hartlepool on the shop floor, in engineering and in administration.”

The firm has just posted profit before tax of £300,000 for the first half of the year compared to £740,000 in 2012.

But bosses say part of the results so far this year were down to a major re-shaping which included the closure of the Rugby office and transferring much of the work to Hartlepool where staff numbers have risen to 150 in recent months.

Mr Peppiatt added: “Previously, Hartlepool accounted for 24 to 25 per cent of the group’s turnover.

“We say Hartlepool will account for 36 to 37 per cent of group turnover with a plan to grow that.

“We have made a decision to consolidate the UK EMS business into one location and we chose to do that in Hartlepool.”

Fifty new staff at the Brenda Road plant includes 24 full-time workers and a number of temporary direct labour. Mr Peppiatt said: “If they go through training, they will be brought on to the books.”

Late last year, Stadium confirmed to the Mail it had contracts coming through to make smart meters and to manufacture electronic boxes for shops.

Chairman Nick Brayshaw said: “We expect a strong second half performance built on a solid order book.”