Gas metering equipment firm in Loddon continues rapid growth

Luke Price with a selection of new products

Luke Price with a selection of new products - Credit: Archant

A second-generation family firm is investing £500,000 in an expansion of its base as it continues its rapid growth.

Continental Product Engineering, which employs more than 70 people on Loddon Industrial Park, an increase of 10 from this time last year, has embarked on a 14,800sq ft extension to its building to provide a new warehouse and production facility and a suite of offices.

The firm, which has become a market leader in the manufacture and supply of gas-metering equipment to the natural gas and LPG industry, is celebrating a £4.2m annual growth in turnover to £16.2m – comfortably exceeding its 2014-15 financial year target of £15m.

Luke Price, who became a director in 2008 alongside procurement director Nick Hollyoak and John and Peter Burton, sons of the founder Harry Burton senior, said: 'During 2014 we have secured three five-year supply contracts with one of the biggest utility companies in the country which will support their installation, maintenance and metering divisions.

'These contracts in total are worth in excess of £10,000,000. Alongside these we have also secured other new business for the next three years on a contractual basis and renewed agreements with our existing customers to beyond 2019.'

The father-of-two, who lives in Church Lane, Bradwell, and describes himself as a local boy made good having attended Cliff Park High School in Gorleston, said every department had contributed to the business's success and they fully expected sales to be over £20m by 2020.

He said: 'Innovation is still at the forefront of our growth as we continue to develop new ground-breaking products that benefit the gas-metering industry.

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'We have introduced three new ranges of product for 2014/15 that have brought significant time and cost savings to the industry and are currently working on additional products to bring to market in 2016.'

The company was still a major supplier to the big six energy companies and it was increasing its customer base with the new smaller energy supply companies, he added.

He said: 'We have also added LPG suppliers in both the Netherlands and Portugal to our customer portfolio and see the exporting of our products and services as a significant growth area of the business.'

Mr Price said it still had not seen the full impact of the roll-out of smart meters as the communication data required to support this had taken longer to develop than expected.

He said: 'The government still wants all homes to have a smart meter by 2020 but we, along with the industry, expect this to be extended by a few years due to these delays. We do, however, fully expect the business to benefit further when this starts in 2016 so we can be confident about the future for a few years to come.'

He said the firm, which was formed in 1993, expected to employ another five to 10 people over the next 12 months.

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