Belfast Telegraph

Turbine firm Newmills rebranded after sale to Your Group

By Audrey Watson

Hydro turbine manufacturer Newmills Engineering in Co Antrim has been rebranded after being taken over by Bristol-based firm Your Group.

The Carrickfergus-based company will now be known as Your Hydro.

Newmills was acquired by Your Group in 2012 for an undisclosed sum and the rebranding brings it into line with Your Group's other four companies.

Your Group chief executive Jamie O'Nians said: "We are very excited about this latest phase in the Your Group story.

"There is currently a high hurdle to get into hydro and Your Group wanted a well established business that had experience making and delivering excellent hydro turbines into the field, as this would be a difficult task to achieve as a start-up.

"Also as Newmills was one of only two such companies in the UK, and about a dozen in Europe, it made for a small competitor landscape.

"We are now lucky to be able to pull from a large skilled manufacturing pool in Northern Ireland."

Over three decades, Newmills has designed, manufactured and installed more than 25MW of hydro power capacity worldwide.

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

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

Meanwhile, Dungannon-based gardening products manufacturer Westland Horticulture remains tight-lipped about its plans for 400-plus employees of William Sinclair Holdings.

Westland recently acquired the assets of the troubled English company in a multi-million-pound deal backed by Danske Bank.

William Sinclair, which is based in Lincoln, owns a number of successful garden fertiliser and chemical brands including J Arthur Bower's, New Horizon, Growing Success and Deadfast.

The company went into administration just before it was bought by Westland.

John-George Willis, partner and head of the corporate department at law firm Tughans, said the Newmills and Westland transactions demonstrated a pick-up in merger and acquisition activity.

"There has been a marked increase in mergers and acquisitions activity in Northern Ireland throughout 2015.

"Technology companies, particularly in the renewable energy sector, are attractive to UK companies seeking to achieve further geographical reach/scale.

"Also, the UK needs to increase the current very low (5%) energy sourced from hydro power and this makes a deal such as Newmills/Your Group even more attractive.

"Acquisition finance is readily available from banks for acquisitions in the UK by mid-size/large Northern Ireland businesses, such as Westland, the object of which is to achieve scale.

"There is more competition among lenders for good trading businesses and a pre-requisite for the easier lending is a strong management team."

Belfast Telegraph