A MARINE engineering firm is celebrating trading success after recording 40 per cent growth on the prior financial year.

Tekmar, a Newton Aycliffe manufacture, whose products protect offshore wind farm cables from the elements, said the significant increase in sales has been achieved, despite the lockdown and social distancing measures in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The board also announced that the group ended the period with a record order book of £10m, up 39 per cent.

Among its accolades, this year the County Durham firm secured a contract at the world’s largest offshore wind farm in inland water, off the Frisian part of the IJsselmeer, near Breezanddijk and its TekLink cable protection systems were selected for France's first offshore wind farm.

James Ritchie, Tekmar chief executive said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the team at Tekmar and all our other stakeholders for their resilience, cooperation and support during these challenging times.

"While our growth in the period has been impacted by Covid-19, the demand for offshore wind remains strong.”

The company's balance sheet remains positive with net cash at year end of £2.1m.

Also, as a precautionary measure, the group recently applied for and was granted a coronavirus business interruption loan of £3m from its bank, Barclays.

Given the group's strong order book, robust balance sheet and available liquidity, the board believes that Tekmar Group is well placed to navigate the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Despite the pandemic, the group has continued to operate across all of its sites throughout the lockdown.

Risk assessments have been undertaken and actioned to provide a solution for business continuity, whilst ensuring the health and wellbeing of the Tekmar Group team.

The firm has implemented home working for the majority of their office-based staff with full access to the group's IT systems and split-shifts for the manufacturing team, which has involved a level of essential furloughing to ensure effective social distancing.

A spokesperson said those furloughed will be reinstated at the earliest, safe opportunity.

As a precautionary short-term measure, discretionary cash preserving initiatives have been put in place, including a freeze on the group's annual pay review, recruitment and capital expenditure.

Management is closely monitoring the situation and potential impacts on the group, in order to take swift action in response to any changes.