TPI May 2024

Business & market news

Wardtec acquisition sees sales boost for Lawton Tubes

from natural gas towards renewable gases such as hydrogen. To cater for this transition, 1,200km of new and existing pipelines are to be prepared for hydrogen in the Netherlands, with the capacity of 3.5GW over the next decade. Sweco will be supporting Gasunie with consultancy, engineering and environmental studies in this major infrastructure build-out. “The market demand for renewable gas is growing and Gasunie is making significant investments in the infrastructure needed to meet that demand. Gasunie is in the midst of the energy transition happening across Europe – and Sweco is proud to be their an additional £5mn of business, an impressive return in what has only been a short period of time.” He added: “We have added new jobs in Redditch and the combined engineering expertise is helping us deliver production efficiencies as we continue to work with strategic customers in both the UK and overseas.” Founded in 1982, Wardtec specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of fittings and assemblies for the water management industry. Most of its fittings are designed for seamless connections between pipework and stored water vessels for use by plumbing and heating professionals. Investment in the latest CNC machining capabilities and constant staff training has seen it develop a reputation for reverse engineering and high-end CAD/CAM solutions, delivering a range of global supply solutions for its customer base. Anthony Ward, who took over as MD of Wardtec from his father in 2005, added: “A lot has changed since we started the business in the family garage over 42 years ago and any deal we did had to build on our current position as the UK’s only copper cylinder fittings manufacturer.

Sweco will be supporting Dutch energy operator Gasunie in the development of a new energy infrastructure, enabling the operator’s transition from transportation of natural gas to hydrogen, CO 2 , renewable gas and heat. Gasunie has allocated €280mn for the framework contract for the next ten years, with Sweco’s share being approximately €100mn evenly distributed over a period of ten years. Gasunie, the energy network operator active in the Netherlands and the northern part of Germany, manages and maintains infrastructure for large scale transport and storage of natural gas. Gasunie is in the process of shifting Lawton Tubes, a UK-based manufacturer and supplier of copper tubes, has recorded a jump in sales following the acquisition of Redditch-based Wardtec. Lawton Tubes, which has been producing vital material for the healthcare, air conditioning, plumbing and general engineering sectors for more than 105 years, purchased the water management product specialist in May 2023 and the seamless integration of the business has already led to an £5mn increase in sales. The deal gives the Coventry, UK-based company the opportunity to diversify into a whole new product range, as well as establishing an important foothold in the rapidly emerging renewables and thermal energy storage markets. Wardtec customers have also benefited from being part of a larger group and the additional resources and security of supply that brings, especially with global disruption still threatening a lot of industrial growth. Giles Lawton, operations managing director at Lawton Tubes, said: “We already had a strong 40-year relationship with Wardtec, so the acquisition made perfect sense from an operational, product and shared values perspective. “Eight months on and I’m delighted to say the combined entity has secured

long-term partner in this,” said Eugene Grüter, business area president, Sweco in the Netherlands. Sweco will be providing services within consultancy and engineering and the contract also allows for innovative projects related to the energy transition, such as hydrogen transport, district heating and green gas. In this project, Sweco in the Netherlands will leverage expertise of colleagues from across the Sweco group, to draw from the extensive experience of similar projects. Sweco “That is why the Lawton acquisition was so perfect for us. We share similar sectors, the same commitment to quality and the same values that only exist in a family-run company. “The synergy was perfect, and we knew having the additional backing and purchasing power could unlock new opportunities in both our established markets and in new ones that could be brought to the table.” He concluded: “That is exactly what has happened in the first eight months with the growth in joint sales across both sides of the business. This is just the start.” and company-wide training has seen Lawton Tubes achieve year-on-year growth for the last decade, with turnover touching £230mm and a workforce of just over 140 located across its headquarters in Coventry and a second site in Poole, UK. Lawton Tubes Regular investment in new warehousing, equipment

Sweco and Gasunie enter agreement for new pipeline infrastructure in the Netherlands



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