Testament to the Welsh company’s global success, also on-hand to mark the event were His Excellency Dato’ Sri Zakaria Sulong, High Commissioner of Malaysia, the UK’s Brazilian Trade Counsellor Rodrigo Santos and the Royal Thai Consul for Wales Theo Coliandris.
Local support was shown by the Lord and Deputy Lord Lieutenants of South Glamorgan, Dr Peter Beck and Sir Brooke Boothby and over fifty VIPs from government, industry and Welsh Universities.
The site is home to Harris Pye’s new UK workshop and stores, and from it the company will be manufacturing specialised equipment and parts to supply its offshore, marine and energy sector clients throughout the world.
“We are absolutely delighted that Alun Cairns was kind enough to cut the ribbon for us, and that so many VIPs came to support the opening”, said Harris Pye’s Group Managing Director, Mark Prendergast. “This is a landmark day for us. This site is our largest in the world, and represents our continued commitment to our Welsh power base.”
Harris Pye has 20 other global bases, including major workshops in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore and the UAE. For 17 years the company’s main UK base had been in Barry, but after several years of rapid growth following a management buy-out in 2007, it became evident that the Barry site wouldn’t be able to cope with Harris Pye’s increased levels of work, particularly fabrication. As the company doesn’t own the land, there was no opportunity to invest in expansion.
“Our new Llandow grounds are ideal, as they house two huge 45,000 square foot former aircraft hangars. This allows us to both expand our Welsh base and also to secure its position as the company’s worldwide HQ”, explains Prendergast.
When Harris Pye took on the Llandow lease in 2012, the site was derelict and the hangars were in a rusty, dilapidated condition. Working with the Countryside Council for Wales and the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the company has renovated it, carefully restoring the grounds and gradually refurbishing the hangars. “We still need to finish the renewal of the store hangar’s roof,” says Prendergast, “Unfortunately we’ve been hampered by the weather, but the heart of our operation – the workshop - is completely finished, and up and running. We now have the UK space and facilities we need to ensure that we can continue to meet our ever-expanding customers’ needs.”
Harris Pye also intends to start building offices at Llandow and relocate entirely from Barry by the end of 2015.
After cutting the ribbon, Alun Cairns said: “I am very pleased for Harris Pye, and it was a pleasure to officially open this new site for them. They are one of Wales’ many success stories, and I wish them every success for the future.” ENDS