Green cars spell growth for Merlin

Managing director Mark Merifield taking a close look at one of the printed circuits
Managing director Mark Merifield taking a close look at one of the printed circuits

MORE jobs could be on the way at an electronics company.

Just hours after the Mail revealed the success story at Hartlepool company Merlin Flex-Ability Ltd, more good news emerged.

Managing director Mark Merifield said the firm was hoping to take on apprentices and could even be planning a 10 per cent increase in its workforce, on top of its recent rise which has taken the numbers to 38.

It is also planning extra investment with a £30,000 chemical processing machine on the way within the next four weeks.

The reason for the success is the company’s move into a new area of business where it plans to make the electrics for electric cars.

Mr Merifield said: “We are very confident about the future and we have a really good team of people here. We are also looking to increase our employee head count.”

The good news marks an impressive turnaround for the Park View West Industrial Estate plant where 41 jobs were lost in June 2010 when the former electronics company Flex-Ability went into administration.

It was taken over by the Falcon PCB Group, which immediately took on 21 of the former workers.

Since then, it has added 17 more and Falcon re-named the business Merlin Flex-Ability Ltd.

Mr Merifield said: “We are seeing steady growth. In our Flex-Ability days, our market share of business was very heavy on defence and aerospace and it was at about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of our business. We had a lot of eggs in one basket.

“In the new company, that accounts for 40 per cent of our business and we are making our market presence in medical instrumentation. We are also now going in to high-end automation for electric cars.

“The order book is steady and, going forward, we are working on good projects. We are in the early stages of them but we believe they could be big for this company.

“We are looking to get involved in an apprentice programme. We are looking to bring in three or four apprentices on a programme for the next 12 months in operations, administration and warehouse and I am about to arrange a meeting with Hartlepool College of Further Education, hopefully within the next four weeks.”

A successful order book could also mean even better news. Mr Merifield said the company currently operates a one-shift business and a successful future could mean Merlin Flex-Ability having to double that meaning a ten per cent workforce increase in the near future.

On top of all that, the firm will this month take delivery of a chemical processing machine which, said Mr Merifield, would “improve our internal yields significantly”.