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Certex to take stock with new MD overseeing UK operations

Lifting specialists Certex UK has announced that Operations Director, Kevin Smith, is to be appointed as Managing Director with effect from January 1st 2014. He will take over from Tony Stringer who is to become Group Projects Director working on joint ventures with Certex companies across Scandinavia and Europe.

The announcement comes at a time when Certex UK reports a 400% rise in profits since 2011, achieved through significant growth in renewable alongside organic growth of traditional markets, and by further enhancing its product and training services within oil and gas.

‘As a company we have identified future growth areas within the energy market and are in a healthy position to achieve this whilst still offering innovative lifting services and products across all sectors,’ said Kevin Smith. ‘Certex UK has worked long and hard to build up a reputation for our lifting knowhow and we have ambitious expansion plans for the coming year.’

Recent growth is demonstrated by the fact that Certex UK has increased five-fold the number of qualified ‘at-height’ field engineers in the last two years and expects to recruit more during 2014, primarily related to the installation and inspection of wind turbines. The company is also about to embark on a potential £2m outlay in stock, machinery, and larger premises in Scotland, and continues to invest heavily in Crosby Hardware, Bridon SWR, and other key stock items to support its ‘same-day’ availability service. Meanwhile, Certex has gained further accreditation from the Lifting Engineers Equipment Association for its industry-specific courses covering lifting gear examination, knowledge of LOLER and PUWER regulations, and wire rope socketing.

‘We are now in a profitable situation and can be clear about where to focus our resources,’ said Kevin Smith. ‘With this in mind, I am restructuring the business to ensure that we have the right people in the right position to meet the challenges that lie ahead. It will mean a more concentrated management structure with myself and Finance Director, Adrian Tomkinson, as the company’s only two directors supported by a smaller, proactive senior management board.’

Tony Stringer commented: ‘I have no doubt that Certex UK will be in very capable hands under Kevin’s leadership and I wish him all the very best in his new role as MD. In my new capacity as Group Projects Director we will continue to work together and I look forward to involving Kevin and his team in joint ventures to improve customer service across Scandinavia, Europe and further afield.’

Both Tony Stringer and Kevin Smith are well-known for having been instrumental in achieving a successful management buy-out, purchasing Certex from Bridon International in 2005. They took shared private ownership of the business along with former Director, Charles Gillespie, and turned its fortunes around before selling in 2008 to Axel Johnson, one of Europe’s largest family businesses.

Certex UK is now part of the wider Certex Group which sits under parent company AxLoad, one of four divisions within Axel Johnson. The Certex companies offer combined total lifting solutions across 40 European locations and into Russia, Estonia, and Latvia.

Image: Kevin Smith (left) takes over as Managing Director of Certex UK while former MD Tony Stringer (right) takes on a strategic role across Europe.

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