Olympic boost for firm

A COMPANY boss has told how an Olympic contract helped his firm to survive the recession.

Sotech Optima, in Peterlee, was forced to make 14 people redundant during the worldwide economic collapse more than two years ago and was considering further cutbacks when the tough times continued.

But the firm, which has its headquarters on the Whitehouse Business Park, in Peterlee, then clinched a contract to work on one the iconic buildings within the London 2012 Olympic Village – the prestigious Aquatic Centre.

It developed and manufactured the rainwater gutters, along with the bespoke roof edging and coping.

The firm completed that work as well as two other Olympic deals.

It has led on to Sotech securing other contracts in the Stratford area of London where the Olympics are generating a need for new shops and hotels.

Sotech makes a range of metal facade systems including rainscreen panels. The turnaround in its fortunes is so dramatic, its workforce is now up to 41 people.

Managing director John Egginton said: “We have been in survival strategy for two years but a year ago, this helped to keep the company alive and keep the doors open.

“The Olympics threw us a lifeline. We were using the people that we had left to do this work and we have got busier since. There is a lot of hotel construction in London and they are building a shopping centre and apartment buildings.

“Stratford is probably the biggest building site in Europe.”

He said the contracts on the Olympic site itself were now finished but other deals had been clinched on the new communities which are being created to welcome the thousands of people expected to converge on London next year.

North-East businesses have so far been awarded more than £82m of Olympic contracts.

in sectors from construction, retail, transport, communications, professional services, law and clothing supply.

Paul Taylor, head of business engagement for Compete North East, said: “I’m delighted that so many firms have benefited from the London Olympics, many with help provided by Compete North East.

“With exactly a year to go they will all be working hard to fulfil orders in time for the main event. These orders have had a significant impact on the businesses involved and a positive impact on the wider region.”