Emtelle is investing millions of pounds at its Hawick factory to ensure that it remains a world leader in the fibre optics industry.
In an interview with the Hawick News, the Danish chief executive of the firm has revealed that not only is more than £5million being pumped into the Haughhead plant to buy state-of-the-art equipment – but that the Teri workforce has expanded by 53 in order to keep up with business which is booming.
Mads Hogfeldt said: “The low number is £10million over 2014/15 in Hawick and Jedburgh. I prefer to keep it there because we need formal approval from our corporate owners, but at the Hawick factory this means £3 million last year and at least £2.2 million this year.”
This is in stark contrast to only six years ago when then the firm was hit by the fiancial crisis and 42 employees were made redundant. And the group boss says the turnaround is testament to local skilled workers.
Recalling when employees took a 10 per cent pay cut, he stated: “We were in dire straits and needed to change everything. We had been at the forefront of the market, but I think we had become complacent. What we’ve seen since is that we wanted to go back to developing new products.”
Mr Hogfeldt added: “All the research and development is done here. Everything is created here, designed here, proven here. That is a fundamental change for our business. We have some extremely specialised, highly competent people with us here in Hawick, who have been with us for 20 years. And they have built up a competence level, from which we are now reaping the fruits.”
Such expertise sees the 190-strong workforce supplying more than 60 countries with its specialised products, with customers including Virgin Media, BT and Vodaphone. And the firm has just completed the fibre optic ducting network for the new Borders railway, as well as cabling and ducting for the world’s largest rail tunnel in Switzerland.
And this latest investment is set to further improve their performance on the global market, according to operations manager Billy Rae, who told the Hawick News: “We are investing in more state-of-the-art equipment to update what we use, and that’s to give us a performance level that we currently can’t get to, and that no-one else in the industry should be able to get to either.
“This investment will increase capacity within the existing labour force. We do it to develop new technologies that are not made anywhere in our industry.”