By Daniel Hunter

Banbury-based Norbar Torque Tools is on the move and aiming for further international growth after securing £5.7 million of funding from HSBC’s Midlands Commercial Banking team.

The funding has enabled the engineering business to acquire new commercial premises which more than triples its available floor space, allowing it to increase manufacturing capacity and boosting potential sales and the local economy.

The firm, which is a third generation family business formed in the middle of the Second World War to aid the war effort, will move to a 170,000 square foot facility at the Wildmere Industrial Estate, Banbury, up from its current 50,000 square foot premises.

The move will ensure the company has enough manufacturing capacity to accommodate future growth projections. The deal has been managed by Tom Brothwell, International Commercial Manager at HSBC’s Coventry and Warwickshire Commercial Centre.

Norbar produces torque tightening and measuring equipment for bolting applications, particularly in the oil and gas, power generation, aerospace, transport, construction, mining and refinery industries. Its products are used hundreds of miles above earth on the International Space Station, right to the bottom of the ocean on subsea pipelines.

The company exports approximately 75% by value of production and sells in approximately 130 countries, with group companies and a strong sales presence in the US, Australia and China. In January it opened a new subsidiary in India. Norbar currently employs 239 people in Banbury and has plans to increase staff numbers by at least 10% during 2012.

Norbar was founded in 1942 by William Brodey and Ernie Thornitt to manufacture torque wrenches to tighten cylinder heads on Rolls Royce Merlin engines used in most of the Allied war planes, including Spitfires, and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. It has remained family-owned throughout its history and all four of the current directors are William Brodey’s grandchildren, including Catherine Rohll who is the current Commercial Director.

“We are tightly packed in at our current location and sales are being constrained not by our ability to sell products but by our capacity to manufacture them," Rohll said.

"We have ambitious growth targets and we want to double sales within the next five to six years; our new premises will give us the opportunity to do that and will also enable us to take on additional machinery and new employees. We have a strong relationship with the team at HSBC and our Relationship Manager Tom Brothwell has played a key role in helping us to source and secure our new home.”

Roy Harris, HSBC’s Regional Commercial Director in the Midlands, said: “We have enjoyed a relationship with Norbar and the family for more than 30 years, and have developed an excellent working partnership over this period. The company’s new premises in its heartland of Banbury is a significant moment in the history and development of this ambitious and successful company and we believe will be the springboard for future growth.”

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