AN EXPANDING manufacturing firm has revealed ambitious growth plans and begun exporting its products to the likes of Brazil and Egypt for the first time.

Durham Precision Engineering (DPE), which employs 38 staff at Heighington Lane Business Park, in Newton Aycliffe, secured financial backing from Barclays, enabling it to invest in new machinery.

The company designs and manufactures precision engineered products for the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, nuclear, aerospace and other industries requiring bespoke and low volume precision engineered products.

The introduction of new technology and equipment has seen the company, which was first established in 1985, achieve their first export orders to Brazil and Egypt with more export orders now going to a customer in the US.

DPE has also become the sole engineering supplier for three of their major existing clients in the North-East.

Its customers include ‘blue chip’ firms such as Glaxo, 3M, Caterpillar and Tata Global Beverages.

Meanwhile, turnover this financial year is expected to exceed £3m, of which ten per cent comes from abroad.

Peter Coates, the company’s managing director, who acquired the business in 2007 after its previous owner retired, said more than half-a-million pounds had been invested in the past two years.

This was through loans and the company reinvesting its own profits.

He said: “We’ve managed to buck the trend and have been growing organically in the UK.

“We have never experienced a slump, even through the deepest recession in manufacturing history, and have never suffered short time working or even overtime reductions. We have continued to recruit throughout the recession and subsequent years and continue to look to recruit high calibre machinists.

“We have just literally recruited a new starter and are on the lookout for one more and have taken on three apprentices this year.

“ The new funding from Barclays has enabled us to invest in new machinery, providing a greater level of automation and increase the capacity of our workload.”

He added: “Barclays has been instrumental in our success over the years by understanding and supporting our business and its growth needs.

“We continue to work closely with them as their guidance and advice on dealing with our first ever international exports has been brilliant.”

Matthew Elliott, Barclays relationship director said: “DPE is a highly professional and progressive brand that is thriving despite the recent economic challenges. The business is achieving their ambitious growth plans and we are delighted to support a leading North-East manufacturer.”