Queen’s Award for Enterprise won by five companies in Norfolk

Ben Stocks, chief executive of Porvair Filtration Group. Picture: submitted

Ben Stocks, chief executive of Porvair Filtration Group. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

Five Norfolk companies are celebrating recognition in the latest Queen's Awards for Enterprise, which have been announced today.

EDP business feature at Applied Acoustics, Yarmouth.Gavin Willoughby.

EDP business feature at Applied Acoustics, Yarmouth.Gavin Willoughby. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Previously known as the Queen's Awards to Industry, the first awards were given in 1966.

This year there are 141 business winners across the country – 105 for international trade, 24 for innovation and 12 for sustainable development.

Norfolk's winners – Applied Accoustic Engineering, Pumptronics, Porvair, HiBreeds and Magnus Marine – have all achieved their accolade for their success in international trade.

To meet the criteria, they had to demonstrate their business had achieved substantial growth in overseas earnings and in commercial success through either outstanding achievement over three years or continuous achievement over six years.

Andrew Olive at Pumptronics in North Walsham. Photo: Bill Smith

Andrew Olive at Pumptronics in North Walsham. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

The company designs and manufactures acoustic equipment that is sold directly, and through its network of agents, into 50 countries around the globe.

Its hi-tech products are used to position equipment under the sea and to survey the uppermost sediment and rock layers of the sea bed.

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More than 40 staff are employed in Yarmouth and the company's agent network – now in 40 countries – has been expanded since 2011 to include Germany, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and Australia.

The firm's Queen's Award for International Trade, its second in five years, comes on the strength of outstanding growth in export earnings of 145pc in the past three years.

Managing director Adam Darling said: 'The award is great recognition and shows everyone in East Anglia that firms from our region can compete for national awards and globally for business.'

He said an export achievement of which he had been particularly proud in the past two years was the successful delivery of a massive contract into Japan.

It manufactures fuel dispensing equipment and, after focusing on the domestic market for 20 years, has made enormous strides in increasing exports over the past four years, particularly to North Africa.

Director Andrew Olive said: 'Over the past three years our export sales have increased from £400,000 to £1.7m for this financial year.

'And in January last year, we secured a single export order to North Africa for 250 units with an order value of £1.3m.'

The company developed a completely different strategy for exports from its domestic activities; while domestic sales are created by distributors, overseas sales are achieved by agents, many of whom look for exclusivity.

Expressing his pride, Mr Olive said: 'The Queen's Award is recognised as one of the highest accolades awarded to companies within British industry.

'Through the company's established brand within the UK market, Pumptronics has been able to develop its successful export strategy, achieving outstanding growth.'

He praised both the company's 'loyal and committed staff' and their international trade partners.

HiBreeds is one of the UK's only major egg exporters.

It was set up in 1998 as an intermediary between about 45 farms in Northern Ireland and international customers –particularly Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations.

Managing-director Nicholas Chandler said HiBreeds guaranteed that about 80pc of the 70 million eggs it exports would hatch once delivered to their desinations, and less than 1pc would crack en route.

'It's a risky business, because we have to guarantee business to British farmers 12 months before the eggs will hatch – and once they're in our lorry, they're our responsibility,' said Mr Chandler.

Yet despite the fragile balance, the team of five at HiBreeds has doubled turnover figures to £20m this year, winning the Queen's Award for International Trade for export growth of 478pc over the past three years.

'The achievement is really my daughter Laura's, who has doubled the business,' said Mr Chandler. Laura Fawke is financial director and export co-ordinator of the company and likely to take over as managing director in the future.

An EDP Top 100 firm, based in King's Lynn, it has also won recognition for its strong export growth.

Porvair Filtration, which designs fuel and other filters to clean exhaust from aeroplanes and large industrial units, has been based in Norfolk since the mid-1960s, but also has plants in the US and China.

About 350 staff are employed running the UK operation and the company has grown to a £104m turnover.

Ben Stocks, chief executive of the group, said aerospace filters shipped to the US and industrial filters headed for power stations had seen a 23pc growth in sales in the last financial year.

'The Queen's Enterprise Award is prestigious and we're pleased to have won,' said Mr Stocks. 'It's an accolade to the people who have worked on these products, but also very useful to be able to tell prospective customers we have that.'

Magnus Marine has been pinpointed for its strong export growth in the super yacht industry.

The business manufactures shore power convertors, which enable a ship, once in port, to successfully connect to any shore electrical power supply. Each unit is built to an individual specification and used on super yachts from 30 to 150 metres in length.

Matthew Scales, managing director, said: 'All products are designed and built at Hethel, 95 per cent of which go for export to every corner of the world. All staff are highly skilled engineers dedicated to designing and manufacturing the finest, most dependable systems.'

He added: 'This award will only inspire us to do even more in the future.

'We are currently building energy storage products that will be able to store any excess electricity generated and lead to significantly lower fuel costs and smaller carbon footprints.'

Has your business received recognition for innovation or exports growth? Contact business writer Jessica Staufenberg on 01603772531 or email jessica.staufenberg@archant.co.uk