Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What a Win Can Do for a North East Company; AS the Countdown Continues to the Fastest 50 North East Companies of 2010, Business Editor IAIN LAING Looks Back at Last Year's Winners

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What a Win Can Do for a North East Company; AS the Countdown Continues to the Fastest 50 North East Companies of 2010, Business Editor IAIN LAING Looks Back at Last Year's Winners

Article excerpt

Byline: IAIN LAING

IT WAS a case of back to the future for Soil Machine Dynamics last year when it was crowned the fastest growing company in the North East for 2009.

In a previous incarnation as Bywell Holdings, the company won the fastest growing large business award in the very first Fastest 50 Awards, back in 1998.

In 2009, the subsea engineering specialist was named fastest growing overall business as well as fastest growing large business at the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards.

Soil Machine Dynamics - or SMD as it is known - is one of the world's leading specialists in designing and manufacturing remotely-operated subsea vehicles. The Wallsendbased company's products are used across the globe in the offshore oil and gas industries, submarine telecoms sector and oceanographic research.

SMD was bought out by its management team in April 2008 in a deal backed by private equity specialist Inflexion.

Andrew Hodgson, chief executive officer of SMD, said: "Winning the Fastest 50 awards last year was an excellent thing for the company.

"First of all, it was real recognition for our existing employees for all the excellent hard work which they had put into the company.

"Secondly, it helps us to recruit the best candidates from the local market.

"Thirdly, it gave us a higher profile which we have used to promote the business nationally and internationally." Since winning the awards in October last year, SMD has gone from strength to strength, highlighting the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50's ability to pick out the region's pace-setting businesses.

In January of this year, the company announced plans to create 75 jobs at its Wallsend headquarters by the end of 2010, taking its total workforce to 250. In April, SMD revealed it had won pounds 60m worth of contracts and in July it announced a pounds 40m contract win from Norwegian oil giant Subsea 7. SMD was not the only company in the limelight at the 2009 Fastest 50 Awards. …

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