Clyde Union pumps business sees upturn in fortune

Jim McColl, who sold Clyde Union in 2011. Picture: TSPL
Jim McColl, who sold Clyde Union in 2011. Picture: TSPL
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Clyde Union, part of the pumps business sold by Jim McColl’s business empire to US-based SPX in 2011, saw its losses narrow last year, with a key executive leaving and jobs cut.


The company, which last month announced a further 160 jobs were at risk at its Clyde Union Pumps’ Glasgow site, said 2012 had been a year of integration for the business under the new owner.

It said the results for both 2011 and 2012 had been impacted by “poor outcomes” from several contracts in new and developing markets. In response the company, which is part of SPX’s flow technology business, has introduced a new contract approval process.

A restructuring was also carried out last summer which saw 90 jobs axed and £1.58 million of costs incurred in a bid to improve operating performance. Joint chief executives Thomas Burley and Keith Mitchell left the business during the year.

The highest-paid director at the company received £248,000 including £68,000 in lieu of notice. Pre-tax losses came in at £7.13m, down from £10.74m, with revenues from continuing operations rising by 14 per cent to £126.7m.

Operating profit before amortisation of intangibles was £1.4m compared to an £800,000 loss.

Finance costs fell to £4.3m from £8.5m reflecting a revised loans and borrowings structure put in place following the acquisition by SPX.

The total order book at the end of the year stood at £105m, down from £147m.

The directors of the company said they believe the business has a “positive medium term outlook”.

In June SPX announced plans to make 160 staff redundant from the plant in Glasgow following an assessment of potential synergies with Clyde Union.

In a statement at the time, the North Carolina-based company said: “As is customary with SPX’s approach with all acquisitions and integrations, we are actively working with SPX Clyde Union to assess and identify potential synergies with SPX and business improvements that will increase our ability to service our customers.”

A formal redundancy consultation with both trade union and employee representatives in Glasgow is currently under way.

North Carolina-based SPX bought the former Weir Pumps business for £750m. McColl’s decision to sell it followed months of talks during which he demanded assurances that the new owner would commit to the company he acquired for £45m in 2007. At the time there was a plan to sell it to Swis firm Sulzer. The cash element in the SPX deal was later re-negotiated.

Clyde Union supplies pumps to industries including oil and gas, nuclear and conventional power generation.