Major expansion for Moray engineering firm

Alan James (centre) Ron and Denise MacLennan. (Pic: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR)
Alan James (centre) Ron and Denise MacLennan. (Pic: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR)

A MORAY CONSTRUCTION firm is celebrating after completing a buy-out of a rival Highland company.

Forres firm A J Engineering and Construction confirmed this week that they have expanded after buying out the Northern Engineering & Welding Company (NEWCo), a Fort William based company.

The takeover was completed on Thursday with the managing director of AJ Engineering, Alan James, saying that it was an important move for the Moray firm.

Mr James said: “Structure-wise nothing is going to change, the NEWCo name will stay, the staff will remain as they are and apart from one of our Forres team going to Fort William to run things down there alongside NEWCo’s production manager, it is business as usual.”

The Forres company was set up in 1999 and has seen steady growth to the point of being a respected provider of specialist fabrication and engineering services. They supply the construction, railway, renewable energy and water treatment industries throughout Scotland.

In 2012 the company, which has 62 staff, carried out a £600,000 expansion of its premises giving it the capability of competing for larger contracts. Two of its most public projects include the steel fabrication work for the Firth of Forth replacement and gantry work for the Kessock Bridge.

NEWCo has 13 staff members and was purchased from husband and wife team Ron and Denise MacLennan, who have been leading the company since 2000.

Mr James said: “Ron and Denise have been very active in the company and to smooth the transition they are still going to be on hand to help. They have a great business and with AJ Engineering behind it we will be able to develop it further.

“NEWCo has a great client base and in fact we share some of the same clients. However, some of their customers need more engineering support which until now they have been unable to offer.

“We have larger facilities in Forres to help with the manufacturing and I have no doubt that this new set up will work well – we have the same ethos and philosophy. The acquisition can only work well for both locations and of course the clients.”

Ron and Denise took over NEWCO in 2000 in management buyout although the company was established in 1985.