Ben Stocks chief executive of Porvair, King's Lynn.

For Elaine Maslin.

King’s Lynn firm Porvair eyes new Chinese base

By Ben Woods Business writer
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
6.00 AM

King’s Lynn-based Porvair has announced plans to expand its manufacturing division in China and acquire new businesses as it eyes continued growth this year.

The filtration and environmental technology group, which has plants in the USA and the Far East, is investing £1m in relocating from Wuhan, China, to a new operation in Xiaogan province.

But the main focus of the business this year will be to release new filtration products.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the firm’s microfiltration division secured a £11.3m contract with the UK government for the design and manufacture of a nuclear remediation filtration system.

And the EDP Top 100 firm was further buoyed this week when it posted its end-of-year results, which revealed a pre-tax profit increase of 40pc to £6.3m – up £1.8m on 2011.

Ben Stocks, chief executive of Porvair, said: “We see growth and investment in three areas: organic growth, product development and expansion of capacity including the increase of plant sizes, which we are doing in China.

“We are investing £1m in doubling the size of our Chinese operation by moving from Wuhan to a new factory in Xiaogan. But China is small part of our business.

“The main part of our growth is new product development. For us it is all about the accumulation of small improvements.

“We have new aerospace filters coming and we have secured a big contract with the government three weeks ago for £11.3m to deliver new filter system for energy remediation.

“Looking back over the last six years sales have grown 68pc – 20pc of that is acquired and the rest is organic. We are looking for acquisitions that bring new technology or better distribution.

“Last year we made three small acquisitions for £3.5m and we are looking to do the same again.”

The firm’s results for the year ending November 30 revealed record revenues for the company, which saw a 12pc increase from £68.1m to £76.5m – with the hope of reaching £79.2m this year. Meanwhile, the company invested £3.5m in three small acquisitions – Pell Industries, AI Laboratories, and Pulse Instrumentation– as well as reducing its net debt by 24pc to £3.9m – down £1.2m on 2011.

In a statement, Mr Stocks added: “Porvair’s strategic direction and operating objectives remain consistent and are producing good results.

“We focus on niche markets which have structural growth drivers, 2013 has started well and order books are healthy.

“The board remains cautious about the general economic outlook, but the fundamentals of the markets in which the group operates look satisfactory.

“After a record year we expect revenue to grow at a more moderate rate in 2013.”