Ex-staff of Newport's Rowecord help Chepstow firm Mabey Bridge expand
9:10am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
Staff from former Newport engineering firm Rowecord are helping Chepstoe company Mabey Bridge expand into new markets
A Chepstow based manufacturing firm has launched a new business and taken on staff from a Newport steel maufacturer Rowecord which went into administration earlier this year with debts of £24m.
Mabey Bridge Ltd of Chepstow has set up Mabey Structures, which will be based at the company's £38m facility at Newhouse Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Chepstow, which was was opened in 2011 by Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change.
The new operation, which has an initial focus on manufacturing for stadia, healthcare, and commercial sectors, is led by Jason Churcher, previously sales and proposals director of Rowecord Engineering, supported by Paul Benwell (ex-Rowecord technical director), as well as engineers, estimators and technical staff also from Rowecord.
Jason Churcher, sales director of Steel Structures, said: "This is a fantastic and exciting opportunity. The new business builds on Mabey Bridge’s growing portfolio of business sectors which include infrastructure for road and rail, wind turbines towers, and international bridging.
“The magnitude of the Mabey Bridge business is greater than that of Rowecord Engineering and the advanced manufacturing facilities are outstanding. The team and I are very excited that we will be able to continue delivering iconic structures from Mabey Bridge. We are able to offer the same levels of service and support that we are used to delivering, but with the benefit of the added resources available here.”
Chris Droogan, managing director at Mabey Bridge, said “Initial market reception to Mabey Structures has been extremely positive and we are confident that this new venture will add considerably to our overall business success.
"We are pleased to welcome Jason and the team to the Mabey Bridge family and look forward to a bright and positive future that builds on their experience and skills.”
Mabey Bridge is well established as a global player in the manufacture of high quality steel bridging, infrastructure, wind turbine towers and heavy plated structural steelwork. During recent busy periods the company was also able to offer additional work opportunities to skilled welders and fabricators from Rowecord Engineering.
As well as the four key management team members, Mabey Structures has also taken on 12 people from the commercial/sales/support functions at Rowecord Engineering. Three Rowecord apprentices have also been taken on.
A spokesman for Mabey Bridge said: "The type of work the new Mabey Structures business will undertake is very much a continuation of the work the team did at Rowecord. Key projects previously included Cardiff City Stadium and the Aquatics Centre at the London Olympics, so the team are very experienced at landmark structures. However, no Rowecord contracts have been 'brought over'. This is very much a new business set-up starting from scratch, but of course the team will have a comprehensive contact book."
Mabey Bridge can trace its heritage back to 1849 when the original business in Chepstow was established to help Isambard Kingdom Brunel build a steel bridge over the Wye River.
The company employs more than 600 people in total, most of whom work at the company's three facilities in Chepstow and Lydney. However, Mabey Bridge is very much a global player and has staff at offices around the world.
The company's core markets (prior to Mabey Structures) are bridge building, modular bridges, and renewable energy. The Newhouse plant is one of the UK's largest manufacturers of wind turbine towers.
The spokesman said: "The business won't have any impact on the wind turbine business at all. The reality is that the Newhouse plant is very advanced and the office easily has the capacity to house the new team. Projects delivered by the Mabey Structures team will feature components manufactured at all three of the Mabey Bridge plants, depending on what those components are. For example, tubular components will roll off the Newhouse line, while plate steel components will come out of the Chepstow site. Undoubtedly the new Mabey Structures business will serve to keep all three Mabey Bridge sites even busier."
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