Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim turbine maker cuts a third of its workforce following rebrand by parent firm

By John Mulgrew

A Co Antrim turbine maker lost a third of its workforce in the same week it underwent a name change and rebrand by its English owners, it can be revealed.

Hydro turbine manufacturer Newmills Engineering, in Carrickfergus, was rebranded last week after being taken over by Bristol-based firm Your Group three years ago.

It is now trading as Your Hydro, after it was taken off liquidators PwC back in 2012. But it is understood some four members of the total workforce of a dozen employees have now been let go.

Your Group would not reveal how much it paid to acquire the Co Antrim company back in 2012.

A spokesman for the group said while it lost four positions, a further eight remained at the factory "ensuring we maintain the positive legacy of Newmills".

He said: "When we took the site over in 2012, there were 12 jobs which we managed to extend for an additional three years.

"As this was not a viable business, Your Group acquired it from liquidator PwC in November 2012, thereby ensuring all jobs were maintained even during a difficult economic climate."

It is understood Your Group has also moved manufacturing and production to eastern Europe.

The spokesman confirmed a portion of work had been moved there from Carrickfergus.

"Eastern Europe outsourcing has increased competition from EU suppliers benefiting from a weak euro (changed negatively 15% in a year), which rendered us uncompetitive in the market, so we needed to take the decision with ongoing Your Group support for it to be possible to secure the remaining roles," the spokesman said.

"This forms part of the supply chain, not relocation, for a newly-focused company that remains UK based for mainly UK projects in the coming year. Your Group's long-term intention is to continue to try to grow and expand as we do cater by market opportunity." In the last 30 years, Newmills designed, manufactured and installed more than 25MW of hydro power capacity worldwide.

Project sites range from the UK to the Dominican Republic, Falkland Islands and Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, founded in 2010, Your Group grew from five staff and a turnover of £250,000 to a 30-strong workforce with a turnover of more than £8m.

Simon Taylor, commercial director of Your Hydro, remained positive about the firm's latest hydro turbine, capable of delivering power "for up to 1000 homes".

"We look forward to reporting further on the completion stages very soon," he said. "I would like to extend the company's thanks and appreciation for the hard work put in by all to get to the present stage. To the assembly team for designing and then driving the production of equipment through the workshop with the assembly team, supported by interface with the project manager."

Belfast Telegraph