A NORTH-EAST manufacturer is set for further expansion and export success as it continues to defy the recession.

Sunderland-based Tiger Filtration has grown on average 50 per cent year-on-year since it was set up in 2004.

It’s workforce will increase from 13 to 15 in the new year.

The company was awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade earlier this year.

It exports 65 per cent of its filter elements for in-line filtration, vacuum pumps and compressors to customers in the US, Far East, Middle East and across Europe.

Managing director Bob Thompson believes that gradual expansion is stronger than sudden growth.

He said: “In seven years we have achieved a fantastic staff retention rate, only losing one employee in all that time.

We’re proud of our first-class people and they’re as motivated as I am about the company and its future plans. The first six months were the hardest. I sometimes worked up to 90 hours a week, but I quickly realised that the global potential of the company had to be pursued straight away.”

Directors Gary Ashton and Matthew Rowe joined shortly after the formation of the company, as overseas markets were targeted.

“Fulfilling special, one-off, bespoke requirements is a particular strength of ours,”

said Mr Thompson.

“We can offer a compressed air solution for just about anything a client wants and so we are not restricted to ‘off the shelf’ solutions like many of our competitors.

“In fact there is no one to touch us in terms of technical response and product delivery times.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Paul Watson said: “Tiger Filtration is a great example of how businesses can set up and grow if they have the support they need when they need it.

“Tiger has a winning combination of skilled staff and superb products that makes it attractive to customers worldwide.”

Sales director Gary Ashton said: “We’ve launched three new products in the past month and our strategy is to continue entering new markets and creating products which spark a strong market response.

“Although we are a comparatively young company our senior team has more than 70 years of experience in our sector and we are using our market knowledge to grow in the future.”