Exclusive: Allam's growth plans to generate new jobs

A YORKSHIRE company which saves lives by providing heat and light in the world's poorest countries plans to create jobs by doubling the size of its manufacturing base.

Hull-based generator manufacturer Allam Marine yesterday unveiled expansion plans which are a key part of its strategy to become the largest company in its sector.

The company's founder, Assem Allam, fled to Britain from Egypt in 1968 after being persecuted for opposing President Gamel Abdel Nasser's regime.

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Since then, he has established an electricity generating firm which ensures starving people get food and heat. It also supplies generators to a range of customers, including airfields, hospitals and banks.

Mr Allam said Allam Marine had become the "supermarket" for the generator industry, adding: "While most manufacturers decided to go to China and India to save labour costs, we took exactly the opposite view. Over the last 18 years, we have had a continuous growth rate of between 10 to 25 per cent per annum."

In recent years, Allam Marine has supplied generators to the Royal Palace in Dubai and villages in Sri Lanka that were devastated by the tsunami of December 2004. Generators have also been supplied to Hull Prison and Humberside Police's headquarters.

The company plans to build a state-of-the-art 60,000 sq ft factory and office complex next to its existing 140,000sq ft base at Melton Industry Estate, near Hull.

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The scheme has been granted outline planning permission by East Riding of Yorkshire council. Mr Allam hopes the final design will be approved soon. He expects the expanded base to open in the summer of 2011.

It will double the company's manufacturing facility, as well as increasing its warehouse and distribution space by a third.

According to operations director Ehab Allam, the expansion will enable the company to take its turnover from 116m to 200m within the next two or three years. Allam Marine will also be increasing its staffing levels from 30 people to 50.

The company will be investing in new plant, such as cranes, steel works and lifting equipment, which will bring the cost of the scheme to around 4m.

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Assem Allam said that, 25 years ago, there were 250 manufacturers in the generator sector, today there were around 10.

"We knew we had to be big or nothing,'' he said. "Light is an essential commodity. The demand is always there."

Allam Marine is split into three divisions: Tempest, which builds complete generators that are ready to run; Genmart, which provides generator kits for self assembly, and; Gentronics, which provides the electronic and switching gear for the products.

Under the expansion plans, Genmart will remain in the existing building, freeing up a large amount of space to store generator parts, and Tempest and Gentronics will move into the new factory.

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Ehab Allam said this would enable the company to double Tempest's turnover from 15m to 30m and increase sales for Genmart by at least 50 per cent, from 100m to 150m.

Shedding light on supply problems

Hull-based Allam Marine's generators can provide power for a whole village, which means medicines can be stored in remote places which lack a reliable electricity supply.

They can also be used in an emergency when the mains electricity is out.

The 'Marine' part of the company's title stems from the early days, when the company specialised in supplying generators to the shipping industry.

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The company has received the Queens Award for Enterprise for its success in selling generator sets.

It has also supplied marine generators and propulsion systems for Nile river cruisers and floating hotels.

In recent years, Allam Marine supplied a Heineken factory in Holland with generator sets, a fitting order for a firm which claims to reach the parts others cannot reach.