Despite the global impact of Covid-19 adversely impacting many businesses, Sewtec Automation has delivered strong financial results whilst relocating its entire operations from eight separate sites into a single 75,000 sq ft state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility in Wakefield.

Sewtec Automation was classified as an essential manufacturer early in the pandemic. This enabled operations to continue throughout and, despite some customers delaying order placements, the company has achieved strong financial results comprising £23m of turnover and an EBITDA of £7.4m for the financial year to 30 June 2020.

Exports continue to dominate with 80 per cent of systems delivered to a mix of long-standing and new international customers, including Tata, Huhtamaki, Nestle, Greencore and Imperial Brands.

Even as the pandemic looks set to continue into 2021, Sewtec has a strong order book and pipeline of opportunities in its core markets of medical & pharma, food and beverage, personal care, pet food and track & trace applications.

This demand is driven by the ongoing need for improved throughput and operational efficiencies but also to remove plastics in packaging in response to global environmental concerns. Availability of factory workers is also a major issue driven by the risk of Covid-19 infections and the ongoing impact of Brexit.

In addition to delivering the numbers, Sewtec relocated its business from eight sites across Yorkshire to a flagship building in Wakefield, just two minutes off junction 40 of the M1. The business relocated progressively over six months with minimal impact to its operations. The major upgrade to the building costing £2m, has created a state-of-the-art facility comprising office space, assembly areas and a machine shop with fabrication bays for in-house manufacture.

Commenting on the company’s results, managing director, Mark Cook, said: “Whilst the pandemic has created a uniquely challenging environment for manufacturers worldwide, it was essential to implement our relocation plans. This enabled us to bring our staff together under one roof, improve operational efficiencies and create a working environment that truly show-cases our capabilities to customers, suppliers and to attract quality new recruits.

“Due to the continued dedication, inventiveness and expertise of our people throughout this period, we have put ourselves in an excellent position to capitalise upon opportunities as the Covid-19 situation evolves.

“With such strong foundations in place, we are well placed to respond to the rising demand for industrial automation systems and continue our ambitious plans for growth over the medium term.”

Sewtec Automation’s strong financial performance has been announced just over three years after a successful management buy-out (MBO) in August 2017 backed by Leeds-headquartered private equity firm Endless.

Andy Ross, partner at Endless, added: “What Mark and the team at Sewtec have achieved in recent months in terms of the strategic move into the new site and the trading performance is exceptional.

“We have just passed the third anniversary since our investment in Sewtec and remain very excited about the future growth plans for this fantastic Yorkshire business.”

Sewtec Automation employs more than 110 people and estimates its new facility will create an additional 70 high-skilled jobs.

During the 12 months to 30 June 2020, Sewtec Automation also ranked among the top four per cent of the world’s most sustainable automation companies by EcoVadis, which surveys 55,000 companies in 155 countries across the global supply chain.

In March of this year, Sewtec Automation was advised it had a ‘critical role to play’ in the supply and production of essential food and pharmaceutical products during the Covid-19 crisis by national trade body, the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA).

Investment upgrade: Sewtec Automation invested £2m to create a state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility (pictured)