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Specialist engineering business achieves record success

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A Welsh engineering business that supplied parts that helped keep the RAF’s Spitfires flying during World War 2 has achieved record-breaking export sales after expanding into new international markets.

Llanelli-based Teddington Engineered Solutions has seen its turnover grow by 18% in the last two years, largely thanks to export sales which made up 66% of the firm’s total sales in the last financial year.

Established in the 1920s, Teddington designs and manufactures expansion joints for a range of industries including aerospace, marine, nuclear power and defence. The joints compensate movement in pipe work caused by temperature change, pressure or vibration.

The company has exported its products to more than 90 countries since 2003, with China, the Middle East and Europe being among its largest markets.

Now for the first time it has entered a developing sector within the steel industry – manufacturing expansion joints for use within direct reduced iron steel plants. Direct iron reduction allows steel to be made more cheaply as it removes the need for conventional blast furnaces, instead using alternatives such as electric arc furnaces.

Jason Thomas, Commercial Director at Teddington Engineered Solutions said: “Our order book has increased significantly over the last two years, so much so that it reached a record high recently. It’s all down to exports and securing contracts with new clients.

“We’ve been trying for many years to get into this specialised steel making industry so doing so is a real breakthrough for us. We’ve already supplied three contracts since April last year and have been assured that we are the preferred bidder for future contracts.

Originally specialising in solutions for the aircraft industry, the years after World War 2 saw Teddington diversify into new sectors such as the petrochemical industry, with the firm selling its expansion joints all over the world.

Key to the company’s export growth, Teddington has received a range of support from Welsh Government export specialists including help with trade missions, exhibitions and identifying trade opportunities, as well as general export advice.
The company’s firm focus on international trade has resulted in a nearly 30% increase in staff over the past four years with Teddington now becoming one of the largest employers in the area.

China is one of the firm’s largest markets. Teddington was the first company to supply bellows for the LNG tankers that are currently being built in China and is also a leading supplier for the nuclear industry in the country. It is now looking to secure similar work elsewhere.

Speaking about the company’s international success Mr Thomas added: “We buck the trend compared to a lot of UK companies which import their product from China. Instead, we export into China. It’s a specialised product and in many industries, our engineering experience along with a reliable, quality product makes choosing Teddington an easy choice.

“The same goes for the Middle East, there are no reputable manufacturers of our product in the area. So the need for overseas expertise is required to resolve issues, design and manufacture solutions.”

In the Middle East, Teddington has been involved in some very prestigious projects. In Dubai alone, it has supplied Dubai airport, the metro system, the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the biggest mall in the world and the Palm Jumeirah.

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Llanelli ‘Banksy’: Mayor covers graffiti rat in protective plastic

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LLANELLI Mayor David Darkin believes graffiti found on charity shop wall could potentially be a Banksy.

The piece has been covered with protective plastic by the council while they determine the authenticity of the piece.

David Darkin, Mayor of Llanelli told this newspaper: “I was approached by a local artist Roz Moreton, who believes the artwork is a Banksy in an attempt to preserve the piece.

Roz who studied art in Bristol and lived in London has said she has been exposed to numerous Banksy works including his rats on Westminster Bridge, and spotted the ‘rat’ straight away.

Darkin added “She first spotted the graffiti around ten years ago, but she kept her findings to herself so that she could go back and visit the work.

“It was only after the recent news of the incident in Swansea, where part of a suspected piece of Banksy artwork was stolen, that she decided to approach me to ask for help to protect the piece”.

The art dealer who bought Banksy’s ‘Season’s Greetings’ which appeared on a garage in Port Talbot in December, has met with the mayor in Neath to view images of the artwork.

John Bradner, Essex based gallery owner, paid six figures for the Port Talbot addition, is planning on visiting the site to see the piece for himself.

Mr Darkin added “After showing John Bradner the images he is fairly confident that the piece is Banksy’s work, the fact it was spotted ten years ago ties in with ‘Banksy’s rats’ which was his theme at the time when they appeared across industrial towns.

“Mr Bradner called me yesterday and asked if there was anything else I can do to preserve the piece until he comes to view it in a few weeks to check its authenticity.”

Speaking on the piece Councillor John Jenkins said “Fingers crossed it is a Banksy, but worst-case scenario it isn’t and is still a talking point and people still come and see him.”

Speaking to Mr Darkin he said no attempts have been made yet to contact Banksy to confirm the piece as far as he is aware.

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36 charges relating to chemicals and components for making bombs

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A 33-YEAR-OLD male  is facing 36 charges relating to chemicals and components which can be used to make bombs.

He was remanded in custody at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday (Feb 15)

The man, from Port Talbot, was arrested in October 2017 in an operation between counter terrorism officers, South Wales Fire and Rescue and The Welsh Ambulance Service.

Detective Superintendent James Hall said no known links to terrorist offences or groups were found. The man will appear in court again at a date to be fixed.

He has also been charged with possessing a taser and manufacturing and possessing class A drugs.

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University makes formal criminal complaint

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A FORMAL criminal complaint has been by made by Swansea University, as part of the ongoing investigation into the issues surrounding the recent suspension of four members of staff.

South Wales Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police and South Wales Police can confirm that they have received a complaint which is currently subject of consideration by both forces.”

Last November, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard B Davies, Dean of the School of Management Prof Marc Clement, as well as two other members of staff, who have not been named, were suspended.

Prof Davies has been suspended for alleged gross negligence whilst Prof Clement was suspended for alleged gross misconduct. Both individuals have denied any wrongdoing. Registrar Andrew Rhodes confirmed at the time that this action was taken after an internal investigation.

In a statement, the university said: “Swansea University has been in regular dialogue with the authorities since November 2018 based on the findings of our initial investigation. A formal criminal complaint has been made and the matter is with South Wales Police and Dyfed Powys Police. We will of course continue to co-operate fully with them. Our processes, which are being carried out by an independent investigating manager, are ongoing.”

The investigation has looked into the academics’ involvement in both the £200m Life Science and Wellbeing Village project in Llanelli, and a £600m plan for a private medical university and hospital in Kuwait.

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