Spondon pipe technology firm Hydra-Valve to create 100 jobs
A SPONDON engineering firm whose products enable water and gas companies to mend pipes without cutting supplies will take on at least 100 extra staff in the next 12 months.
Hydra-Valve has grown from nothing to turn over £7 million in just a couple of years and now employs nearly 100 people in Derbyshire – a figure it expects to double during 2013.
The technology company designs and manufactures equipment that allows repairs to be made to underground pipes without cutting gas or water supplies to homes and businesses.
This technology is vital for utility companies who regularly have to suspend supplies for maintenance work, risking big fines from the Government for poor performance.
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Hydra-Valve, based at the Stoney Cross Industrial Park, has already saved water companies tens of millions of pounds and is now being inundated with work.
Growing demand in the UK and overseas means that there is an urgent requirement for skilled workers.
Managing director Steve Foster said: "This is a business that is growing fast and there are some great career opportunities here with the chance to work in some fantastic places around the world. There is no real competition out there as we are the only company that can provide a full service from design through manufacturing to installation.
"The cost savings we are making for utilities companies are massive and there is huge potential for us."
The firm has 23 vacancies for senior designers, engineers, mechanical engineers, skilled machinists and fabricators, welders, pipeline and valve technicians, hydraulics engineers and line stopping engineers, responsible for dealing with pipelines under pressure.
Since autumn it has taken on contracts managers, quantity surveyors, accounts and administration people and two directors, adding nearly £23,000 to the monthly wage bill.
A beneficiary of a £1.1 million Regional Growth Fund grant to boost its expansion, Hydra-Valve last year worked on contracts for the London Olympics and has signed a number of multi-million-pound licensing deals in the Middle East.
Its technology has been adapted to clean out giant crude oil storage tanks without having to empty them, potentially saving major oil companies millions of dollars.
Within the next six months, the company aims to open an office in Abu Dhabi.
Last week, Hydra-Valve acquired the £5 million-turnover Chesterfield company Denholm Pipecare to give it a stronger presence in the market to repair gas, oil and petrochemical industries.
Mr Foster said: "Our full financial year has just ended and we achieved turnover of £7 million, which isn't a bad performance considering we started from scratch in 2010.
"We are anticipating very significant growth this year and expect to take on around 100 people in Derbyshire – and that is a fairly conservative estimate."
Many miles of water mains used today were first laid in the Victorian era and are in poor condition, prone to leaks and with seized-up valves, making conventional maintenance hugely expensive.
Mr Foster estimates utilities companies spend around £1 billion a year on unnecessary excavations, costs inevitably passed on to consumers.