Workforce has doubled at growing Hartlepool firm Merlin Flex

Mark Merifield, managing director of Merlin Flex, with Peter Shields and Neil Kenley, from Tees Valley Combined Authority, Phil Sly, of BE Group, Coun Kevin Cranney, Antony Steinberg and Denise Ogden, from Hartlepool Borough Council.
Mark Merifield, managing director of Merlin Flex, with Peter Shields and Neil Kenley, from Tees Valley Combined Authority, Phil Sly, of BE Group, Coun Kevin Cranney, Antony Steinberg and Denise Ogden, from Hartlepool Borough Council.

A manufacturing firm has doubled its workforce over the last 18 months and has an order book topping £3m.

Merlin Flex, which is based on the town’s Park View Industrial Estate, specialises in the design, manufacture and assembly of flexible circuit boards for the aerospace, automotive, medical, robotics and telecoms industries.

The hi-tech firm, which was only created in 2010, has a current workforce of 64 with a turnover approaching £5m.

Its products are being used around the world including in the Red Bull Formula 1 racing car steering wheel and the Aldebaran/Softbank ‘PEPPER’ humanoid.

The company was awarded a Let’s Grow grant of about £70,000 in 2015 from the Regional Growth Fund, which will enable it to expand the workforce further and grow the business.

Mark Merifield, managing director of Merlin Flex, said: “We are competing with other companies around the world and are delighted to be winning significant contracts which are great for Hartlepool and the North East as a whole. We are in a very competitive business but everyone has worked hard over the last six years and the doubling of our workforce over the last 18 months is a demonstration of our success. The recent grant has helped us make significant investments in new machines which allows us to increase our capability and stay competitive.”

Simon Allen, Let’s Grow project manager at BE Group, said: “This has been a significant investment for the company and the grant helped to reduce the level of financial risk, enabling the project to go ahead.”

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s regeneration services committee, added: “Merlin Flex is a great success story and it is really encouraging to see them performing so well in such a tough economic climate.

“This is a company which is providing excellent employment and apprenticeship opportunities.”