The winner of this month’s Birmingham Post Business Award is looking to overseas markets.
Lorien Engineering Solutions is winning business in Belgium, Holland and Russia and tendering for contracts in China and Africa.
And overseas projects are likely to account for half of the company’s annual turnover in five years’ time compared with about 30 per cent currently,
Lorien, which is based at Fradley Park, Lichfield, provides engineering and project management services to the food, brewing, drinks, pharmaceutical and life sciences, industrial manufacturing, household and beauty and waste and recycling sectors.
It won the latest Post award after reporting its best ever annual performance across a range of sectors.
The award, the last in the 2007/08 year, was presented to Lorien in a ceremony hosted by Edgbaston Priory Club and its vice-chairman, Ken Franklin.
Lorien is now competing with the eleven previous monthly award winners for the annual prize, which will be presented by the Duke of Gloucester on July 11.
David Smith, managing director of Award sponsor Churchill Vintners and chairman of the judging panel, described Lorien was “truly worthy of becoming this month’s winner”.
Lorien Engineering Solutions, part of the London-based Lorien group of companies chaired by Christopher Sawyer, was founded 23 years ago as Integrated Engineering Projects by a group of former employees of Allied Brewery Engineering Services based at Burton upon Trent.
It began by providing engineering services to the brewing industry but has steadily expanded into other areas. It now employs some 70 people.
IEP changed its name to Lorien after being taken over in 1996.
“We have hit a number of recessions along the way but over the last couple of years we have really started to grow again,” managing director Steve Slater said. “Turnover has doubled.”
In the year to December 1, 2007, turnover hit £6 million and the company undertook projects with a gross value of £100 million.
Its clients include the brewers Scottish & Newcastle, Carlsberg, Coors, InBev and Diageo, food manufacturers Cadbury’s, Mars, Walkers, Unilever and Kraft, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the waste disposal group Biffa.
Another growth area for Lorien is the waste and recycling sector which it moved into a couple of years ago and which is expected to grow strongly in the UK.
But in the main growth is going to come from overseas markets, Mr Sawyer said.
“We are competing against some of the world’s leading engineering companies and are winning contracts in parts of the world we have never competed in before and where we had no track record.
“We are not competing on price but on experience.”
Mr Sawyer paid tribute to Lorien Engineering’s employees who are now finding themselves working abroad more and more.
“They have become airborne instead of chairborne and are climbing some personal mountains,” he said.
The move into overseas markets makes the company a more attractive employer and also means that its workforce do not have to worry too much about an economic downturn in the UK.
Mr Slater said: “In five years’ time Lorien Engineering will be double the size it is now and will be working more internationally than in the UK.”
The main sponsors of The Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with Champagne Taittinger.
Flybe and Aston Business School provide further support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner worth £2,500. And Warwickshire County Cricket Club provides a private box for one of their day/night games.
Yorkshire Bank sponsors the end of series presentation event and also provides its city centre meeting facilities as a prize for the overall winner.