North Walsham engineers PSS steer path to growth

Hydraulics and steering column manufacturer PSS is set for continued growth after taking over a former operation from a Danish company.

A year ago, North Walsham-based PSS acquired the Saeur Danfoss factory, which supplied steering columns for tractors, diggers, fork trucks and grass cutters to customers across the world.

The Danish company had decided to close the plant before it was bought by PSS, which transported the machinery to its Norfolk base.

And strong sales in the former Saeur product lines have helped lift turnover at PSS to a predicted �9m in 2010, up from about �8.5m last year – despite drops in trade in other key sectors.

The new products have also resulted in about 14 new jobs at PSS along with six new apprentices taken on in recent weeks.

Commercial director Andrew Brammer said the acquisition last year came at an ideal time for the company> It provided a boost to sales took a steep dip in its main market, supplying power steering pumps for major truck manufacturers.

The company supplies manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors and Land Rover, mainly in the UK and US. Mr Brammer said the US market 'took a nose dive' in August 2008, and had only begun picking up again early in 2010, while UK trade also declined.

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The product lines also secured new customers for PSS in continental Europe and Scandinavia, including France, Italy, Poland and Germany.

Mr Brammer said: 'The acquisition not only replaced business that has dropped off in the credit crunch but has increased our sales. The business we have taken on will probably make up 25pc of our trade next year, and this has come at just the right time.

'Next year we anticipate significant growth as the market is now picking up again.

'We are very confident for the next year. Things have changed big time in our markets. It won't go back to the good old days, but we anticipate 10pc growth.'

In addition to tractors and diggers, PSS makes power steering pumps and steering columns for the UK and US military, including steering columns for the American Humvee vehicle, which it has supplied for about seven years.

Other work includes supplying a power steering pump for the US Stryker tank.

The company also re-manufactures parts for the UK Ministry of Defence and major bus operators.