Exclusive: Made in Britain policy pays dividends

THE Yorkshire generator firm which helps to save lives by supplying heat and light in the world’s poorest countries has increased sales and profit after shunning the trend of outsourcing to the Far East.

The generator manufacturer recorded turnover of £132.02m last year, up from £116.08m, with pre-tax profit rising to £17.07m, compared to £15.37m.

Mr Allam, who fled to Britain from Egypt in 1968 after being persecuted for opposing President Gamel Abdel Nasser’s regime, said the firm had continued to grow with sales up 40 per cent since the year end.

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Allam Marine is one of the world’s largest supplier of electricity generators, which means more starving people will get food, heat and light. It supplies generators to a range of customers, including airfields, hospitals, banks and the Nigerian oil industry.

It has become a “supermarket” for the industry, said Mr Allam, 71, the managing director and chairman.

“My customers are those who were my competitors before (now).

“It is a trend to go to China and India to save on overheads and labour. We did the opposite. Our logo is ‘Made in Britain’.

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“We are reviving the whole image of British products. The whole market is getting tired from low quality and cheap and cheerful or fake products where you don’t know what you are getting.

“Everything in my factory is made in Britain. That is creating demand. We don’t need to run away to India or China unless we are working for the local market.”

The firm 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.

It also wants to enter the United States market. Mr Allam said it was looking at a launch date in the second half of next year but would delay this if the firm continued to see a rise in orders from new and existing customers in other territories, such as Europe, Turkey, the Far East and North, West and South Africa.

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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.

Operating profit at the group was £17.12m last year, up from £15.21m.

It subcontracts the manufacture of components to firms based in Yorkshire and the rest of Britain and concentrates on the design, assembly, testing and distribution of equipment.

It has worked with the Royal Palace in Dubai and Tottenham Hotspur FC and seven years ago it supplied generators to villages in Sri Lanka that were devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami. The generators can provide power for a whole village, which means drugs and medicines can be stored in places far removed from large cities. They can also be used in an emergency when the mains electricity has been knocked out.

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Mr Allam runs the business with his son Ehab, the operations director. In December last year they completed the buyout of Russell Bartlett’s shareholding of Championship side Hull City. The club had sold number of key players as they battled to avoid going into administration. Mr Allam’s cash injection and personal guarantees came to £40m, more than three times what was first expected.

The businessman described the deal, understood to have been for a token £1, as a present to Hull, adding: “As a normal business deal, I admit I wouldn’t touch it.”

Mr Allam fled Egypt, where he working as an auditor and studying for a masters degree, more than 40 years ago.

After arriving in Britain, he found work as an accountant and, in 1977, was seconded to generator builder Tempest Diesels. Realising the potential of the business, he bought it in 1981, creating the holding company, Allam Marine.

Honour for firm’s founder

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Assem Allam has been named an honorary doctor of the University of Hull in recognition of the impact on the city of his business and philanthropy.

Mr Allam previously studied as a postgraduate there before going on to buy the company which became Allam Marine. Two years ago he donated £1.5m to the university to establish a new biosciences research centre and construction is expected to start later this year.

Professor Calie Pistorius, university Vice-Chancellor, said Mr Allam and the other recipients of honorary degrees were “a great source of inspiration” to this year’s graduates.