KOREA SUCCESS: MD Richard Booth
A designer as well as a maker, the company produces cooling systems for a variety of industrial operations that generate heat as a by-product. To avoid failure or meltdown this extra thermal energy has to be dispelled and that’s where GRE comes in providing customised solutions efficiently and quickly. The South Korean project, for a leading smart energy producer integrating and balancing different energy streams and timings, has added significantly to the company’s turnover which stands at £3.5 million for 2018.
“It’s our biggest order and has put us on the map, leading to further work in South Korea and establishing a long term presence in the Far East,” says managing director Richard Booth who re-shaped the business after taking it over with a group of shareholders in 2011.
Based in Devon, it operates in three main sectors, process cooling, pure water cooling and cryogenics (the production or application of low temperature phenomena) that cover a broad range from power and electromedical to space and nuclear.
But being a one stop-shop, from design to control systems, testing and installation was why it got the Far East call, believes Booth.
“We operate across the board, generally there’s nobody else, and we offer the full package, there’s no sub-contractors anywhere in the chain. Software and controls are the brains of any system and our speciality. Traditionally that is outsourced so doing it sometimes surprises clients.
Green Resource Engineering (GRE) factory
“We rarely come up with the same brief twice. Some companies take 18 months or more to produce, say, a prototype water chiller. We can deliver in 12 weeks which makes a very viable offer for customers.”
Currently contributing to the biggest laser in the world being constructed in Germany, Siemens is a major client for the firm that employs 23 and prefers growing organically to taking investment.
Ninety per cent of sales are through recommendation and end up within exports, with the biggest interest now from the science and research sector.
But the South Korea contract and its opportunities might never have happened had it not been for backing available through UK Export Finance (UKEF), the Government’s export credit agency in partnership with leading banks.
GRE has signed a £1.1 million export contract in South Korea
“We’re a small company and taking on a project of this size would have been impossible. But with this cash behind us we could. We were recommended to try Lloyds and could not have done this without them,”
In this case it was Lloyds’s commercial banking arm which played a crucial role in enabling GRE to get the deal over the line, putting up a £170,000 warranty bond.
“This gave our client the confidence to agree the contract,” explains Booth.
“We’re a small company and taking on a project of this size would have been impossible. But with this cash behind us we could. We were recommended to try Lloyds and could not have done this without them.”
“Foreign guarantees such as warranty bonds let businesses bid for overseas contracts that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, by mitigating risk and helping prospective international clients trade with confidence,” agrees Gwynne Master, head of trade, Global Transaction Banking at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Being a one stop-shop is the key to success
“In this case, the facility worked by putting a percentage of the contract fee in trust for 12 months before being paid out, but other guarantees can take a variety of different forms.
“We have a range of guarantees and bonds that we can use to provide highly tailored packages of support to help firms trade internationally with financial security. Management teams should call our team of trade finance specialists on 0345 072 5555 to find out how we can best support their needs.”
The bank has also provided £4bn of funding for Britain’s manufacturers during the past three and half years.
“We remain committed to supporting UK manufacturing businesses of all sizes, which is why we have backed GRE throughout the process as they have navigated new terrain,” adds commercial relationship manager Andrew Blanchard.
In operates in three main sectors: process cooling, pure water cooling and cryogenics
Having overcome the funding challenges that limit the ambitions of many growing firms, there is one further boost GRE would dearly like to see in the near future: having access to a fast broadband connection.
Mid-Devon is still waiting for that and Booth is acutely aware how an ultra fast line could take the firm’s productivity to even greater levels.
“I live in hope 2019 will be the year it arrives,” he says.