Meech International has reported a 14 percent growth in sales for the 2010-2011 financial year, fuelled by a continuing strong performance in overseas markets, which grew by 16 percent. Orders from Germany led the way, growing by 83 percent and continuing a trend of healthy growth in Europe over the last two years. Sales to the U.S. and China also grew, as did those to Spain and Italy, despite both countries’ economic problems.
Exports now account for almost 80 percent of sales at the Oxfordshire-based specialist developer and manufacturer of electrostatic controls and related solutions. Chris Francis, Meech’s CEO, describes 2010-2011 as, “A year of consolidation following the exceptional 37 percent rise in sales we recorded in 2009-2010 as the global economy began to recover. Most of the growth is in our core static control division and our air technology business unit, while web cleaner sales have also made steady progress.”
He adds that despite difficult trading conditions in the U.S. and several euro zone countries the outlook for 2011-2012 is good, thanks in part to new products such as IonRinse, a unique ionising air rinsing system for the beverage industry (pre-forms and blown PET bottles). “Ionised air rinsing technology is increasingly replacing traditional water-based rinsing systems. IonRinse is not only extremely compact and provides exceptional cleaning functionality, it’s a genuinely sustainable solution, as there are no costs for water, compressed air, chemicals or effluent and no need to handle water or chemical residues. The market’s initial response to the product has been very positive, and we expect it to contribute positively to our sales in the coming year,” says Francis.
Francis attributes Meech’s performance to the decision several years ago to pursue a three-pronged strategy of selling a comprehensive range of products into a broad spread of industrial and geographic markets. “The industries we sell to include cyclical sectors such as automotive and relatively recession-proof sectors such as medical, pharma, and food and beverages. Geographically, we are well-represented both in emerging and mature markets. We have offices in China, India and Central Europe, sales and production facilities in the U.S., and excellent distributors in key European countries, such Germany, Spain and Italy. Combine this infrastructure with the continuous investment in R&D that yields products such as IonRinse, and we believe we are capable of continued growth in most environments.”
On the back of these latest results, Meech is expanding its systems manufacturing capacity for web cleaning and IonRinse at its Witney headquarters, and is also adding to its sales and marketing resources. Two new salespeople have been recruited in China and a systems sales professional for capital equipment (web cleaning and IonRinse) has joined the U.S. operation. The company is currently recruiting for similar positions in Belgium and the UK, and is in the final stages of appointing a manager to develop the Latin American market.