It’s part of a strategy of diversification for Hesco, which was founded by the late philanthropist Jimi Heselden and suffered a fall in revenues following the UK’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Leeds-based Hesco Bastion makes the blast wall basket, which replaced sandbags as protection for soldiers. Camp Bastion, the British military base in Afghanistan, was named after the firm. The firm’s protective barriers can also be used to protect oil engineers, UN peacekeepers and remote villagers from flooding. In the year ending January 31 2015, Hesco reported turnover of £25.2m, compared with the previous year’s turnover of £20m. Profit before tax was £9.3m, compared with £4.5m last year.
Hesco’s performance has been boosted by its acquisition of Reed Composite Solutions (RCS), a specialist manufacturer of ballistic plate protectors, which is based in Washington state in the US.
Mike Hughes, the CEO of Hesco, said: “The acquisition of RCS has reaped rewards and is now trading as Hesco Armor, Inc. It has secured a share of a $49.5M..body armour contract to supply the next generation of Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) to the US Army.”
The company has developed a new flood product called Jackbox, a lightweight flood barrier and Frontline, which provides a rapidly deployable high-level security fence. Testing for the Jackbox was undertaken both in the US and at a 300 metre, international white-water rafting course in Teesside, which was built to train 2012 Olympians.
Mr Hughes added: “Hesco continues to work in environmental and flood protection projects across the world.. We have been working with The Environment Agency in the UK on a number of projects to provide advice on the best form of flood protection.”