Belfast Telegraph

Engineering firm says sales will surpass £50m as growth in renewable sector goes on

By Margaret Canning

A Northern Ireland engineering firm has said it expects sales to reach well over £50m as strong growth over the last three years continues.

Mallusk firm Williams Industrial Services (WIS) said sales had reached £39.5m in its latest accounts, an increase of 53% on the year before.

Pre-tax profits in the year to May 2016 reached £1.5m - more than double the previous year.

But the company, which was founded in 1983, said growth in projects in Britain would bring turnover for the present year well beyond £50m.

The firm carries out process control, automation and environmental engineering work. However, renewables work has been the biggest contributor to overall turnover.

A spokeswoman said its order book for this year was worth £53m, with another £130m of business on the cards for the next two years.

The company's core business in Northern Ireland is sewage infrastructure work for NI Water, but in Britain the firm has a large number of projects working in renewable energy.

The firm is now building around six anaerobic digestion plants in the UK with a total value of £34m.

It's also building an anaerobic digestion plant in Ballybofey, Co Donegal.

The firm said its work in Britain and the Republic had been a "great springboard into international markets".

Overseas, the company has carried out work in Canada, Taiwan, the Middle East and Singapore.

Chief executive and chairman John Toner said: "We believe our in-depth knowledge of process engineering and control, state-of-the-art tailor-made design and build plants, combined with our local Northern Ireland based engineers makes WIS anaerobic digestion systems superior to the other mainland European systems on offer."

The firm employs 150 people, and has added 12 new posts while also running graduate programmes in the company's five divisions.

Mr Toner expanded into the bio-energy market seven years ago after the company built up expertise in the water and wastewater treatment and aerospace sectors.

The company's accounts recorded that last year it received a loan of £754,039 from Whiterock Capital Partners - part of a £1.25m from growth loan fund, administered by Whiterock.

A strategic report filed with the accounts states that the company has been able to reduce its dependence on its big Northern Ireland clients by breaking into major utilities markets in Britain and the Republic.

And last year the company was awarded Best Managed Company status in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards Programme.

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