Turnover boost for Mussett Group

A Loddon engineering firm has restored turnover to pre-recession levels with strong growth within the UK after being forced to close a Polish manufacturing operation because of inflating staff and transportation costs.

The Mussett Group has three branches; Mussett Composites, Mussett Engineering and Mussett Aerospace, and provides a range of products to the aviation, oil and gas and telecommunications industries from its Norfolk headquarters.

Turnover for the year ending in July is expected to be �6.2m – up significantly on the �4.7m brought in last year.

The increase marks a return to pre-recession levels, after the company saw a dramatic fall from a regular income of between �600,000 and �700,000 a month in turnover to just �200,000 in November 2008.

And over the next 18 months the company hopes to reach �10m in annual turnover.

Most of the firm's recent growth has come from the oil and gas industry, to which it provides machined metal components for drilling operations, and in the telecommunications sector, for which it creates bend restrictors to protect undersea fibre optic cabling from damage.

The firm is also contracted to manufacture components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and expects this to bring in between �2.5m and �3m annually once full scale production of the new model begins.

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The firm now has around 100 staff in the three separate companies in the UK.

It had to make 35 workers redundant at its Polish branch in September as rising costs made it too expensive to support.

The company had created the foreign factory three years ago to reduce the cost of manufacturing various products and components, but rising staff and transportation overheads led to its closure late last year.

Owner Gordon Mussett said that the company now faced a challenge in recruiting more skilled staff in the UK to allow it to expand and take on new projects.

'Our big problem is getting skilled people,' he said.

'If we could get more people our growth could be even greater.

'It's mainly CNC programmers and setters we're looking for. We're very short of them.'

He added that the limited supply of skilled workers in Norfolk were already largely employed by the firm and that several unqualified trainees had been taken on last year.