A LIGHTING firm is poised for growth after new deals and pioneering technology strengthened its North-East presence.

Thorn Lighting, in Spennymoor, County Durham, is working with Durham County Council on office and outdoor lights.

The company, which has about 600 staff, is also pressing ahead with LED lighting, which bosses say is brighter and saves energy.

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The firm operates from its £28m 40,000sq metre plant on Green Lane Industrial Estate plant, making about 3.5 million lights every year.

Chris Short, Spennymoor director of operations, said the company was in a position to expand.

Mr Short, a former Nissan engineering apprentice, also oversaw production at Black and Decker.

He said: “This factory is a huge part of Thorn's global work and has staff numbers to the tune of 600.

“Those direct jobs are fantastic for the local area, but you then also have to factor in the supply chain and its benefits.

“We have Tridonic next to us, which supplies us with lighting components, and that has been a key part to our success.

“We are working much closer with them but also focusing on innovation and a technological shift.

“We are starting to work with Durham County Council, but we need to look to build that network with the other local authorities to increase our relationships in the area.

“That growth plan also includes LED lighting, which we are budgeting for a 45 per cent growth in this year.

“We have a great plant here in Spennymoor, but I know that we cannot rest on our laurels.

“That means looking at ways to grow and develop a sustainable business for the future based on skilled workers and a good cost base.”

The firm is part of the Zumtobel Group and trains hundreds of people on industry techniques at its £1.3m Academy of Light.

Last year, The Northern Echo revealed Thorn had secured a deal to make 120,000 lights for a leading supermarket and was also supplying lighting for an education provider.

Mr Short added: “We are one of the few businesses that can provide a total solution to large projects, from making components to commissioning and after-care sales.

“The focus is now on developing a structure to cope with the change in volume and technology.”