A Newport manufacturing company that has successfully ridden out the recession and is on course for a record turnover of £9 million has been crowned Welsh Company of the Year at the South Wales Chamber Awards, run in association with the University of Glamorgan Business School.

Industrial Automation and Control (IAC), an electrical systems integrator, which operates from a 37,000 sq ft modern manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Newport and employs 66 staff, has successfully weathered the economic storm and is now aiming to double in size over the next three years through organic growth and acquisition.

The company used the recession as the prompt it needed to diversify, helping to strengthen the balance sheet and safeguard the company from the risk of a downturn in any one market.  The firm has also expanded overseas by acquiring Tiprow Controls in South Africa in 2004, a move which added £1.5 million in terms of turnover to the business.

Rather than laying people off when the recession hit, IAC Group made a commitment to the workforce to retain as many people as possible. This decision not to downsize paid off as the company has been able to take advantage of opportunities as the economy recovered.

Speaking about the achievement of winning the award, Peter Lewis, managing director of IAC Group said: “The Welsh Company of the Year award is one of the most coveted awards in Wales, and I’m absolutely thrilled that IAC has been selected as a winner.

“We’ve worked hard to grow the business, in spite of the turbulent economic times that we’ve all been facing, and our determination to see it through has paid off. 2011/12 looks as if it will be a record year for the company, the current order book is looking good and the expansion of the workface in 2010 means that the company can accommodate the increased workload comfortably.

“I’d like to thank our hard-working team, without whom all of this would not have been possible. The wellbeing of our workforce is our number one priority and we are committed to ensuring their long-term future by continuing to run a thriving Welsh business.”

It was a double celebration for IAC Group on the night as its Marketing and HR Manager, Kath Lewis, also won the Graduate of the Year award. Kath, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) in Advertising and Marketing, was nominated by IAC for her energy and expertise and ability to tackle any task with confidence and stamina.

IAC and Kath Lewis were named as winners along with seven other companies and individuals from across Wales in categories which included Entrepreneur of the Year, International Company of the Year, Most Promising Growth Business, Environmental Recognition Award, Excellence in Marketing, Skills and People Development Award and Excellence in Technology Application.

David Russ, managing director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “All of the winners, including IAC, have performed exceedingly well over the past 12 months and should, understandably, be very proud of their achievements in winning one of these coveted awards.

“The competition was extremely tough, as the standard of the entries and those shortlisted, was extremely high.  This just goes to show how many inspirational success stories there are in Wales, and how companies are managing to shine despite the economy being so difficult.”

Now in their tenth year, the South Wales Chamber of Commerce Awards reflect the efforts of businesses and individuals throughout the whole of 2011 and are the culmination of the Chamber’s inaugural ‘Business Season’, which comprised more than six months of events, workshops and seminars to help drive business growth across south Wales.

The Hollywood-themed awards took place at City Hall in Cardiff, and were presented by broadcaster, Mai Davies, and supported by the University of Glamorgan Business School.

Professor Gary Packham Head of the Glamorgan Business School, said: “The Glamorgan Business School is delighted to once again be associated with the South Wales Chamber of Commerce awards. We remain fully committed to supporting the needs of Welsh businesses and developing the next wave of entrepreneurial leaders capable of making a significant and immediate contribution to the economic, cultural and social needs of society.

 

“The Glamorgan Business School would like to congratulate all finalists. The quality of entries continues to improve year on year and this is testament to the critical role Welsh entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses will continue to play in Wales’ future.”

 

Selected entrants to the South Wales Chamber Awards will have the chance to go through to the British Chamber of Commerce Awards in November 2012, where they could be in with the chance of scooping the winning prize fund of £50,000.