Glasgow-based Walker Precision Engineering Ltd has today announced the first contract win for its newly-acquired English subsidiary.
In December the engineering firm created Walker Guidance Systems by acquiring an environmentally temperature-controlled, high precision machining and assembly centre from Leonardo, the leading global aerospace, defence and security company.
Leonardo subsequently placed an order for critical airborne and guidance products with Walker Guidance Systems (WGS) which is based in Basildon, Essex. The plant also produces gyroscope, seeker and optronics components.
Walker now plans to invest more than £5 million in its new subsidiary to support Leonardo’s requirements and the Walker group’s growth ambitions within the airborne and space market sectors.
The firm’s joint managing directors are brothers Gary and Mark Walker; whose late father John “Ian” established Walker Precision Engineering in 1979. Ian died in November. Said Gary: “Walker Precision Engineering was one of my father’s many achievements and he was justifiably proud of our expansion plans. We will invest more than £5 million in setting up the new site over the next 18 months. It will be our centre of excellence for high accuracy guidance products used in the aerospace, defence and space markets.
“We’ve already had our first new customer visit to Walker Guidance Systems and expect a new contract from them early next year. This new investment not only cements our relationship with Leonardo and the Basildon plant’s customers, it will give us further opportunities for new customer growth by adding ultra high accuracy machining – including micron capability, this will complement our existing competencies.”
The acquisition, supported by The Bank of Scotland, means the Walker group now employs around 220 people at three sites: Glasgow, Poland and the new Basildon facility.
Mr Walker added: “This acquisition will drive the need for more group jobs at our Glasgow HQ, although we cannot say exactly how many at this stage. We’re excited about this fantastic new business and the skillset of the team that we’ve acquired and look forward to spending time in the warmer climate of England’s South East!”
Walker Precision Engineering embarked on its most recent growth strategy in 2015 when it was selected for Sharing in Growth, the government backed programme to help firms compete for increased aerospace business.
The vertically integrated contract manufacturing company produces high integrity products as well as specialist bonding, tooling and NADCAP approved surface treatments, for companies such as MBDA, Thales, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
Alongside the Walker management team, the Sharing in Growth (SiG) programme will help develop the company to become more productive and competitive so that it can win or retain £15 million in contracts by 2018.
SiG is already helping 50 companies achieve their aim of an average 50% increase in productivity. SiG’s four year transformation programmes are designed to deliver and sustain improvements so that UK firms are better placed to compete for the continuing huge growth in the aerospace sector.
Established in 2013 with £50 million from the Regional Growth Fund and endorsement from Airbus, BAE Systems, Bombardier, GE, GKN and Rolls-Royce, SiG has already helped secure contracts worth just over £1.6 billion for the first 37 firms on the programme, equivalent to around 2400 UK jobs. Ultimately the programme’s goal is to safeguard 10,000 UK jobs.
Said Sharing in Growth CEO Andy Page: “Walker Precision Engineering typifies the ambitious companies that qualify for the Sharing in Growth programme. We have helped them define and realise their growth strategy and, at a time of consolidation in the UK aerospace supply chain, we are delighted with their acquisition and latest contract.”
SiG’s cross-functional experts tackle areas such as lean operations, manufacturing engineering, procurement and cost and value engineering. To ensure a sustainable and fully integrated transformation programme SiG also provides world-class training in leadership, strategy, and business planning and performance improvement.
Companies interested in SiG’s fully funded programme, who have the ambition to grow to over £25m within five years, have until 31st January to apply for around £1.1 million worth of business transformation support.