North East Connected

UKSE investment backs Tees business riding a wave

A young Tees-based company that is giving the region’s thriving subsea sector a vital supply of cable harnesses and electrical systems on its doorstep for the first time, has already secured significant orders from Mexico, France, Norway and Italy as well as the UK.

Wavecon, set up at the beginning of 2021 by Wayne Pullen and David Stout, secured a five-figure investment in the form of an unsecured loan from UKSE, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, to help with the purchase of capital equipment.

The company specialises in the design and manufacture of cable harnesses and electrical and control system equipment for underwater RoVs and trenching vehicles used by offshore operators in the oil, gas, renewable and other sectors.  The North East is home to a large cluster of subsea companies operating in a market that is worth more than £1.5bn.

Wavecon, based on the Queens Meadow Business Park in Hartlepool with office, workshop and clean room facilities, is the first supplier of its kind in the region and expects to create up to five jobs for engineers and skilled operatives this year.

Subsea vehicles typically comprise significant levels of electrical technology.. Wavecon designs, manufactures and tests a large proportion of this technology  including  control systems, junction boxes and interconnecting vehicle harnesses. The company also has a hydrostatic test chamber capable of testing to 4300m water depth.

“We both have decades of experience in the technology development and offshore sectors, including a good understanding of the supply chain supporting this industry,” said Wayne Pullen. “We were able to identify that there was a real gap in the market for a local supplier.

“We provide a full in-house service from concept and design to manufacture and testing including pioneering new manufacturing techniques not previously used in this industry.  Reliability is vital for such a harsh environment, which is symptomatic of this sector, as is short lead time demands. All of which directed our key USPs which are to provide high reliability products within a short time frame and with no minimum order quantities.

“This will be particularly beneficial to the key players located here in the North East, which we see as a very significant market for us, in addition to our already established global reach where there are hundreds of vehicle operators and manufacturers.

“The development of all-electric vehicles will also increase demand.  The significant number of contacts that we already have in the sector helped to give us a very encouraging start,” he added.

“We are grateful for the support from UKSE,” said David Stout, “as it enabled us to get up-and- running with the equipment and tooling we needed.   Setting up a new business at this time has brought additional challenges but we are in a sector that is not as seriously impacted as others have been by the pandemic.  We will continue to invest in the latest technology and design software and are confident about Wavecon’s future.”

Peter Taylor, Business Development Manager for UKSE said: “Wavecon has a strong and well-connected management team with considerable expertise in this thriving sector.  They saw an opportunity to lead this field in the region and we look forward to seeing the company expand and create valuable jobs.”

Graham Cornforth, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets in the North East, advised Wavecon on potential funding, helping to secure the UKSE investment along with a package of funding which included grant support from the Tees Valley Business Support Scheme.

“We are pleased to have been able to work with Wavecon and UKSE to ensure the company found the growth capital it needed,” he said. “North East businesses are showing great resilience and enterprise and, importantly, funding support is available.  Good businesses or entrepreneurs with the drive and enthusiasm to deliver a business plan can continue to create excellent businesses in the North East.  It was a pleasure to help Wayne and David with their ambitious plans and we  wish the company every success.”

Details of UKSE’s support for businesses with finance and premises from 01642 777 777 and; Wavecon is on 01429 870123 and and Azets Corporate Finance on 01642 221 331

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