Record-breaking year for Great Yarmouth company

A Great Yarmouth firm which makes sonar equipment used to survey seabeds across the world has mapped out a record breaking year.

GeoAcoustics Ltd, which employs 34 people to design and manufacture equipment at its factory in Shuttleworth Close on the Gapton Hall Industrial Estate, sells its products to commercial survey companies, navies and marine research outfits in more than 60 countries.

The company was bought by Norwegian firm Kongsberg Maritime in 2008 and president Peter Hogarth said that its parent company's strategy to 'invest for the upturn' was paying off.

'2011 has been record breaking in almost every respect,' he said. The company will turnover just under �6m at its year end this month.

Mr Hogarth said it was a truly global company exporting between 60pc and 70pc of its products.


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He said the recovery had been slow in coming in certain sectors such as ship building, but port and harbours across Asia were expanding and the Chinese market was still very strong. And he said the oil and gas sector, which is a big customer for the company, had also stabilised.

Despite cuts to government spending, the company's portfolio of products means it is able to sell into a wide range of different markets.

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'The market is going better, but there are companies in our line of work struggling,' he said.

The company has taken on two extra staff in the last two years.

'Having the people in place and not panicking when the recession came, and not laying off people, has helped us,' he said. 'Part of our success is down to the team,' he added.

The takeover by Kongsberg Maritime has also created new opportunities for the company.

He said it had made a 'significant' investment in the factory and people.

'We have a parent company that is a multi-national,' he said. 'That is helping us in terms of opening up markets.'

He said that they had particular links with US and Canadian markets and there was a Norwegien network of contacts.

'Norway has had a very hands off approach,' he said. 'They have allowed us to have a great deal of autonomy but they have engaged with us and we are working with new-found sister companies.'

The firm was originally founded by David Stone and Dick Stafford in 1978 as Offshore Research Equipment, selling and leasing offshore research products.

It move to Gapton Hall Road in 1982 and was bought by Ferranti, a leading UK defence contractor at the time, in 1983. It was bought back in 1991 and renamed GeoAcoustics before being bought by Kongsberg Maritime in 2008.

annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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