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Bright future for Penman’s says new boss

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Bright future for Penman's says new boss

AN ARMOURED and specialist vehicles firm in Dumfries which teetered on the brink of collapse is now thriving — eyeing contracts with the potential to double its already growing workforce.

Hull-based Martin Williams Ltd bought Penman Engineering at Heathhall out of administration in November last year, when employee numbers had fallen from about 140 to just 14.
But with 67 people now employed by the firm, director Chris Williams this week said: “We’ve managed to grow fast, we’ve taken some big contracts on to build more vehicle bodies and do the sort of general body building that we carry out, and in doing that we’ve managed to re-employ quite a large number of people who were employed with Penman’s before and some new people as well.
“We took three apprentices back on again, all of whom were employed there before, so we’ve carried on their apprenticeships with Dumfries and Galloway College which is really positive.”
Jobs have included positions for CAD design engineers and workshop staff from coach builders through to blacksmiths and paint-sprayers, with all staff being employed locally.
And Mr Williams said: “We’re re-engaging with various quotes that we’re tendering for which are massive multi-million pound jobs, we’re re-engaging with previous suppliers and customers, and it’s all looking positive.”
Penman Engineering entered administration leaving creditors owed almost £6 million.
And Mr Williams says work continues to re-establish the firm’s reputation under all-new ownership.
He said: “There’s quite a few orders coming through in the coming weeks which will secure jobs and make the firm less reliant on the work which is supplied through MW Group.”
And Mr Williams confirms that if prospective contracts pan out there is the potential to double the existing staff of 67.
He said: “Our main aim is to give job security for people, and give security for local suppliers and look for new staff as well.”

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