A FASTENINGS company says robotic vehicles’ evolution can bolster its international presence.

Trifast says it is poised to profit from car makers’ forays into self-driving battery models.

Bosses say advances, such as Google’s autonomous city car project, present potential untapped riches for its goods as manufacturers unfurl next-generation designs.

The company runs a plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, under its TR Fastenings banner that oversees supply of products such as nuts, bolts, washers and screws.

It is also known for supporting marques including Nissan, which employs nearly 7,000 people at its plant in Sunderland and makes batteries for its all electric-leaf hatchback.

Bosses at Trifast say automotive work now accounts for more than 30 per cent of the business’ global revenue, with the UK industrial fastener market worth around £1.2bn.

Malcolm Diamond, executive chairman, said openings in the car sector are abound, with high-quality fixings needed for seats, dashboards, steering columns, bumpers and electric battery mountings.

He said: “Automotive is the fastest-growing sector and the most demanding, and we are entering an exciting new era.

“Model changes and electric vehicles and the new battery factories to support these are all fastener rich opportunities.

“The development of autonomous vehicles by Google is a good example.

“Interiors will be equipped as offices, seats that recline and rotate, and new features will be added, which will increase comfort and communication.

“All of this will bring fresh challenges and new opportunities.”

Mr Diamond was speaking after Trifast unveiled its annual results for the year to March 31, which showed revenue had increased to £161.4m and underlying pre-tax profits were better off at £16m.

He added: “Seven years ago, less than 15 per cent of group revenue derived from the automotive sector, but demand for our expertise has become global.”

According to Trifast’s results, UK revenues stood at about £64m, while underlying operating profits were in excess of £6m.

Glenda Roberts, Trifast’s global sales director, said the company was continuing to build its presence in Aycliffe, where it employs 30 people across sales, logistics and technical support and is creating new posts to further strengthen its offering.

She told The Northern Echo the business, which previously supported manufacturers Black and Decker and Electrolux in the region, was benefiting from its focus on automotive work.

She said: “We have been at Aycliffe for more than 20 years and are there because we were close to Black and Decker and Electrolux.

“However, we have pushed on with automotive and gone for it in a big way.

“We are now one of the major suppliers in the area and it’s a great success story for us.

“We have re-invented ourselves in the North-East.

“But we are not just about supplying, it is about service too and we are there for people.”