Pryme Group – Spreading Its Wings

Pryme Group has built a reputation for engineering excellence in the oil and gas industry, but now it is looking further afield.

Pryme Group’s roots lie in a number of diverse companies, some of which can trace their roots back over 40 years, but as those companies came together, they built something that was greater
than the sum of its parts.

The group offers a broad range of contractor and manufacturing capability,” explains the company’s CEO, Angus Gray.

The group was formed in 2014 by Simmons Energy’s private equity fund, as part of its investment portfolio, through successive acquisitions culminating with the purchase of SengS in 2016, which provides integrated solution packages – including control systems, diver/ ROV tooling, winches, power packs, hydraulic power units, test stands, control panels, flushing and testing, repair and refurbishment – and Hydratron in 2018, which has a strong global brand, and sells high-pressure and flow control equipment. The group is defined by two qualities; one is a wide range of experience and knowledge from a range of complementary industries, the other is high standards and expertise in the field of engineering.

“We have expertise across the group in engineering and design, fabrication, CNC machining, CNC sliding head, EDM, coating and testing,” Gray says. “That gives us end-to-end service for oil and gas, wind energy, aerospace and defence markets from our facilities in Newcastle, Manchester, Morecambe, Dundee and Aberdeen. Give us a contract for a product and we can design it, make it, test it and bring it back to you; a complete turnkey service.”

It is clear that the group is going places, with the resources, skills and reputation to make a huge impact on the oil and gas industry. However, it has faced challenges as well, particularly with the recent volatile activity in the oil and gas sector.

“The biggest challenge for the group is recovering from the oil and gas downturn,” Gray admits. “We’re finding opportunities to make our organisation more efficient and diversify into non-oil
and gas markets.”

Pryme has responded to this challenge by building a new, state-of-the-art home. “We moved our machining and fabrication operations in Newcastle into a purpose-built building in North Tyneside and invested about £10.5 million into the whole project, of which £4.2 million was new equipment and machinery,” Gray tells us.

The company now has a new facility located at the Tyne Tunnel Estate, called Pryme Group Newcastle. The company has benefited from more than £10 million worth of investment to date, receiving support from UK Land Estates, North Tyneside Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to construct a purpose-built 58,000 square foot facility, which was officially opened by the elected mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn CBE in November 2018.

Pryme Group Newcastle houses best-in-class machinery alongside fabrication services to allow the company’s customer base to bring innovative products to market. In the long-term, the Newcastle facility will provide a boost to the group’s existing capabilities as well as create enhanced opportunities for clients operating across the UK and internationally Pryme Group has invested £4.2 million in equipment and CNC machinery – with new technology and increased efficiencies expected to result in a boost to revenue and improved on-time delivery.

The best facilities in the world will not help without the right people to run them, however, and so recruitment and retention are key parts of Pryme Group’s strategy. The company makes good use of recruitment firms, but rather than simply outsourcing this function, Pryme ensures it has close relationships with these firms to ensure they know what to look for in a potential new employee.

“We have a partnership with a company called Bonfire Recruitment for hiring into senior and middle management positions up to board level. They are providing us with great support as they know the business inside-out” Gray says. “We have also established a partnership with a company called Jackson Hogg which does all our operator and middle management recruitment.”

As well as sourcing that talent, Pryme Group strives to engage and reward its staff to maintain a cohesive team where people are able to progress in their careers.

“In terms of retention, we have created an engineering development programme that rewards our engineers so that they don’t reach a glass ceiling in terms of progression in their career,” Gray explains. “We have guys who are apprentices, all the way up to operators and middle managers who are in our engineering development programme. They create their own development programme with their manager, and I meet them once a quarter to review their progress and identify any areas for improvement.”

This team and their new facilities will be taking Pryme Group into bold new places. Following the downturn in the oil and gas sector, Gray is enthusiastic about diversifying the company’s portfolio.

“Really, we want to grow further our share in the aerospace and defence markets whilst we continue developing our presence in the energy sector,” Gray says.

The company certainly has the skills and experience, as well as the equipment and capabilities to build on its previous work in this market. The company’s move into the aerospace and defence markets is accompanied by a drive to enhance existing certifications.

“We’ve recently been awarded AS9100 certification, an aerospace requirement, for four of our sites in the past three to four months,” Gray says. “All the machining capability within the group is now aerospace certified.” It is an area Gray has high hopes for. “That is where I see significant growth coming from in the next two years, in-line with the wider  recovery at the moment.
The final part of that growth will be new products being developed by Hydratron and we expect them to be very successful.”

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