Jonathan Gibson of Cenelec with Lindsey Grieves of NEL
Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

North East Hazardous Area Inspection firm expanding with £300k investment

A North East Hazardous Area Inspection firm is continuing to break into new markets and win new clients around the world with the help of a second investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.

Cenelec Standards Inspections Ltd (CSI) helps companies operating in potentially explosive onshore and offshore environments, such as oil rigs and refineries, distilleries and chemical plants, to meet their extensive health and safety statutory obligations.

In 2012, CSI worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to obtain a £275k Growth Fund investment which helped them manage sustained growth whilst also developing a high quality CompEx training centre in Newcastle as an additional service.

Since then, CSI’s workforce has increased by around a third to 90 people, with a significant number based from the North East. The company carried out main core business services in 38 different countries in 2013 and is looking to sustain this upward trend.

To provide the resources needed to service this growing demand, CSI has now secured a further £300k from the Growth Fund, and is targeting the US, Canada and South Korea as areas in which to capitalise on new commercial opportunities.

Electrical and instrument inspections are carried out by CSI’s expert personnel using specialist hand-held equipment which enable compliance requirements to be quickly identified, reported and addressed, thus minimising any delays for client assets to benefit from corrective actions and therefore saving significant amounts of time and money.

In addition to new clients including Grey Wolf, Precision Drilling and Wintershall, the firm already works with a wide range of other blue chip companies, including BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Diageo and RWE, and manages their clients’ compliance from its Newcastle headquarters.

Executive Director Jonathan Gibson said: “An expanding business is an exciting business however the most significant obstacle in looking to continuously improve a company is cash flow, and without NEL’s support, there is a reduction in the opportunities we have to develop new business.

“It is rewarding to see the company continue to expand into new continents, but adapting to alternative standards, directives and regulations that come with the global marketplace bring its challenges.

“Remaining comfortably operational with increasing debtor books as a company grows and instigating the necessary insurance debtor protection with new clients is a delicate process.

“The financial support mechanism that NEL offer through its stringent due diligence process enables the company to proceed with confidence to finance projects, which, through the nature of the services we provide, can be in some of the world’s most remote or potentially hostile environments, such as Egypt, Algeria and Iraq.”

Investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, Chris Parker, said: “CSI has developed an enviable position in a lucrative market, and their ambition to make even more of this than they have already is very much to be admired.

“Making successive tranches of investment capital available to companies with developing needs is crucial to helping them fully realise their potential and create further wealth and employment in the North East.”

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