In a boost to Wales’s international trade, Pontypool-based manufacturer Flamgard Calidair has won a contract with the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement with support from the UK Government through UK Export Finance (UKEF), Welsh Government research and development grants and Lloyds Banking Group.
Flamgard will provide fire and shut off dampers to the Chernobyl site, the world’s largest movable structure designed to facilitate monitoring and demolition of the previous containment building following the 1986 disaster, while securing remaining radioactive material. The €1.5bn multinational engineering project, managed by international contractor Novarka, will be installed in late 2017.
The move comes as the UK Government looks to promote trade abroad through the Exporting is GREAT campaign, which aims to inspire and encourage more businesses to export.
To fulfil the contract, Flamgard required additional finance to issue an advance payment bond, a common challenge for exporters. It was able to secure this through its bank, Lloyds, while a guarantee from UK Export Finance meant there was no requirement for a deposit.
The Welsh Government has provided ongoing innovation support to Flamgard over a number of years, including funding from the European Regional Development Fund, to support the research and development of technically advanced products and for equipment to enable the business to meet the growing global demand for its products.
Rt Hon. Greg Hands MP, Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, welcomed the announcement, saying:
“This success demonstrates that there is a world of opportunity out there for innovative, outward-looking companies like Flamgard. But when the world needs your expertise, you may find you need additional support, and I am delighted that the UK Government, through UK Export Finance, was able to help ensure this very special export happened.”
Steve Edwards, Managing Director, Flamgard, said:
“This is a major international contract for Flamgard, which we were able to undertake with the support of UK Export Finance, the Welsh Government and Lloyds Banking Group. The support we received from government and the private sector has helped us to win big in a global marketplace.”
Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates said:
“Flamgard is a highly innovative company with a global reputation for excellence. It is a world leader in the supply of safety critical devices and a great example of the expertise we have within the advanced materials and manufacturing sector in Wales.
“The company is now reaping the benefits of substantial investment in research and development and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government has helped position Flamgard at the forefront of what is a highly specialised industry sector.”
David Williams, relationship manager for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:
“Flamgard’s innovative technology will have a huge impact on the highly complex Chernobyl project. But first, it needed specialist funding to secure the contract and, working with UKEF, we were able to provide the flexible finance package needed.
“When working on complex deals such as this, it is more crucial than ever that companies have a trusted partner that understands the challenges they face and can deliver tailored solutions to overcome them.
“We are committed to ensuring that businesses like Flamgard have that tailored support, which is why we have committed to increasing our net lending to SMEs by £1 billion every year until 2017.”