TWO newly-independent County Durham engineering firms are aiming to scale up their operations after securing six-figure investment.

The money came from the North East Growth Capital Fund Supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Alpha Process Controls and Aldona Seals were both recently acquired from the Knorr-Bremse Group, the German parent company of regional engineering firm GT Group, by former GT Group sales director John Lamb and Alpha’s design manager Ben Richardson through their ACCEDO Group holding company.

Mr Lamb and Mr Richardson are now implementing growth strategies for both businesses which will see them enhancing their existing operations while developing new products and services to support emerging technologies.

A number of North East jobs are expected to be created as the businesses develop, while discussions are already underway around a new global distribution agreement with a major multi-national energy business.

Providing new opportunities for young people in the North East to get into the engineering industry through degree apprenticeships and other routes also form part of the firms’ growth plans.

Alpha Process Controls is a world leader in fluid transfer process systems and supplies bespoke safety valves and couplings to major firms in the oil and gas, medical gases and industrial sectors in more than 60 countries.

Aldona Seals manufactures a diverse range of hydraulic, pneumatic and rotary shaft seals for customers with specific design requirements for the compression and injection moulding of rubber.

Mr Lamb says: “Our aim is to consolidate the services we offer for our core customers while also designing and developing new products and services which capitalise on their evolving needs and the emerging technologies that are driving them.

“While we’re targeting clients and markets around the world, we’re very firmly committed to remaining a North East business that will create new jobs and provide new opportunities within the region.

“The whole investment process has been completed remotely and everyone involved has done a fantastic job. Business Durham has supported us from the very first day that we started thinking about buying Alpha and Aldona, while the enthusiasm and commitment of the NEL team made the investment application process very simple.”

The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

Peter Rippingale, inward investment manager at Business Durham, says: “This investment will enable both companies to explore new markets and technologies, creating jobs and opportunities in County Durham, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow.”

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses across the region.