AN award-winning Hartlepool firm is investing £1m in new equipment and facilities - and the good news was revealed on the day a Government minister paid a visit.
Hart Biologicals, based on the Queens Meadow Business Park, continues to go from strength to strength. It is investing around £1m to handle a new commercial contract in Germany.
The finer details can not be revealed for commercial reasons but operations manager Mal Pattison said: “It is a new product range for a customer in Germany. It is another re-agent group to what we already manufacture.”
Meanwhile, the firm – which became the Hartlepool Business of the Year in 2012 and which makes and supplies specialist blood testing systems – is continuing to look to expand its markets with Singapore and Thailand in its sights.
The news came on the day Lord Green, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, visited Hart Biologicals with town MP Iain Wright.
Mr Pattison said: “We are really pleased that the Minister decided to pay us a visit. He is visiting to find out how international trade is doing.”
He said the export trade was “very important” to Hart Biologicals which won the Exporter of the Year title at this year’s Hartlepool Business Awards. Judges heard that turnover had gone up by 30 per cent.
And, within that, net exports were also up. Eighty per cent of what the company turns over is export.
Hart Biologicals has also recently increased staff numbers to 21 by taking on four new apprentices.
Mr Wright, also the Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) said: “I get on very well with Stephen Green and very much share his ambition that the real sustained recovery will be export led.
“We have got to encourage more Hartlepool businesses to think about how their goods and services could be traded overseas.
“Export businesses employ more staff, pay higher wages and are more productive and inventive as they are exposed to a wider market.
“I was keen for him to hear about the procedural challenges that are stopping businesses exporting and for him to promote the idea that exporting overseas is something Hartlepool businesses can do.
“I am really grateful to him for coming to Hartlepool.”
After touring the facilities at Hart Biologicals and then speaking with staff and management, the minister could not hide his admiration for the work being done at the Quuens Meadow plant.
Lord Green said: “This is my first visit here and what is really striking is that we have very high-end medical science here which is then being exported all around the world.
“I have been all over Britain and seen companies across a range of sectors from very traditional to very high-tech.
“And this is a company which is certainly very high-tech.
“Anybody who may think of the old Hartlepool is not focusing on what the real Hartlepool is like, and this is the real thing.”