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ATB boosts Laurence Scott`s sales by 34% in six months
Published:  20 December, 2007

In the six months since the Austrian motor-maker ATB acquired Norwich-based Laurence Scott & Electromotors from administration, it has raised its turnover by 34% to £18m on an annualised basis, according to preliminary figures.

ATB took over Laurence Scott in June 2007 through its UK subsidiary, ATB Morley. Since then, it has focused on restructuring the Norwich operation to boost its productivity and output, as well as integrating Laurence Scott into its global network. In the second half of 2007 the company, now called ATB Laurence Scott, broke even.

ATB has re-hired 33 of the 79 workers who were made redundant by the administrators before the sale. It has also taken on four new members of staff, taking the total employed in Norwich to 156. ATB is planning to spend around £200,000 to rebuild and upgrade equipment at the site, and just approved an investment to develop a new test bed facility.

"We are glad to report that Laurence Scott is now fully stable and is back as a serious player in the market and channels they serve, continuing to strengthen its competitive position", says ATB’s chief executive, Christian Schmidt. "ATB Laurence Scott`s turnaround is truly outstanding and was achieved in far shorter a time than originally estimated."

Laurence Scott, founded in 1883, develops and manufactures high-voltage motors, mainly for the oil and gas industry. Most of the new orders are coming from European pump and compressor OEMs serving the oil and gas industry, and are destined for projects in the Middle East, Asia and the North Sea.

According to Schmidt, Laurence Scott’s products and markets are now an important part of the ATB Group. "We see high potential in further developing the company and moving to new markets like the Middle East," he told Drives & Controls.

ATB says that Laurence Scott has proved to be "the perfect match" for its German sister company, Schorch. A detailed strategic planning process will be initiated in the first quarter of 2008 to examine areas where ATB Laurence Scott could grow further.

Schmidt is confident that "the operations side of the business is more than capable of keeping up with the current growth rate.

"Cash flow has been restored to maintain a consistent inbound flow of the materials required to operate," he reports. "We intend to be very opportunistic in taking advantage of the current opportunities presented in the buoyant markets and channels we serve."

One issue which has yet to be resolved is the lease of the valuable Gothic Works site, which is still owned by Laurence’s Scott’s former parent, FKI. This lease is due to run out in a few months, and ATB is still negotiating with FKI to extend it. According to Schmidt, "there is no reason to believe that an agreement will not be reached". He adds that ATB has successfully negotiated an agreement with Norwich City Football Club to extend the lease on Laurence Scott’s test bed building to October 2009.

Another of ATB’s recent UK acquisitions, the Stockport-based motors business David McClure, which ATB bought in July 2007, is also reported to be showing signs of recovery and ATB has great hopes that it can follow in the steps of Laurence Scott.

Turning to ATB’s troubled UK subsidiary, Brook Crompton, Schmidt says that "our goal is to give Brook Crompton a strong position in the UK market and to return the company to its previous strength. We see big potential for Brook Crompton through the strengthening of sales and marketing as well as a clear positioning of the product portfolio."

He reports that Brook’s lead times have reduced, adding that "we are working intensively on optimisation of lead times," but he cautions that "due to the booming market situation and strong customer demand, all producers are showing longer lead times. We and all our competitors are also suffering from longer lead times from our component suppliers."

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