A TECHNOLOGY firm's County Durham site remains key to helping the business move forward.

As Filtronic, which designs and makes electronic products, prepares to start work on two major new contracts chief executive Rob Smith said its site at NETPark, in Sedgefield, is hugely important.

Mr Smith said: "Some of our biggest contracts can only be done from that site."

He said the site was important for low volume, high value products so had recently increased its workforce from 65 to 70 with a few senior engineer positions still open.

"We are still recruiting and investing in the site going forward, it remains absolutely key to us," he said.

According to the company's latest financial results for the 12 months ending May 31, 2018, which were released yesterday, sales revenue dropped from £35.4m in 2017 to £24m in 2018 and the basic earnings per share fell from £1.51 to 59p.

But Mr Smith said profitability was maintained and the numbers reflect the company coming to the end of some significant contracts, which had been well known with shareholders, and in the last two weeks share prices have gone up 40 per cent.

Having just secured a major contract to design and supply antennas for 5G systems and a three year deal, worth £4.8m, with a defence customer Filtronic is set to grow.

Mr Smith said: "We are looking to win more contracts and are working hard to do that now. We are waiting for some contracts to flow down the supply chain and feel we are in a good position.

"At Sedgefield, we have a large engineering team and are always looking to recruit RF (radio-frequency) engineers even when we don't have vacancies because if the right quality person comes along we want them. The production staff are all skilled or semi-skilled and it takes years to train and get them proficient."