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Award winning manufacturer moves into new North East base with Yorkshire Bank backing


A specialist compressed air filter manufacturer has relocated to bigger premises as part of plans to double its UK turnover.

Award-winning Walker Filtration has moved into 12,000 sq m premises at Birtley Road, Washington – three times the size of its previous base - after gaining backing from Yorkshire Bank’s Newcastle Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) through the Bank’s Investing for Growth initiative.

Family business Walker Filtration, which has won the Queen’s Award for International Trade three times, has relocated from Glover Industrial Estate, Washington, to its new premises which has nine acres of adjoining land for further expansion.

Walker Filtration, which was founded in 1983 by Brian Walker, has grown from a small North East business to a global £22.3m turnover enterprise with overseas sites in the US, South Africa and Australia and manufactures a wide range of filtration equipment for compressed air, compressed gas, vacuum pump and medical applications.

The business, which exports 88 per cent of its products worldwide, mainly to original equipment manufacturers within its key markets in Europe and the USA, says the new premises has a range of features which will support its growth as well as benefiting customers.

These include an increased production capability, fully-integrated flexible production systems, better design and development facilities, an integrated supply chain and improved stock holding capability.

Lianne Walker MBE, director and group general manager, who took over day-to-day running of the business from her father in 2005, says: “We are delighted to have completed our relocation which represents a significant investment and re-enforces our commitment to sustain technical excellence, exceptional product quality and outstanding service as we continue to grow.

“We are pleased that Yorkshire Bank’s Newcastle Financial Solutions Centre recognised the strength and potential of our business and had no hesitation in supporting us at a time when bank funding is still generally hard to come by.”

Lianne Walker received her MBE for services to manufacturing and international trade in 2008, following her father who was awarded an MBE in 2001. The award-winning company, which says the re-location will enable it to double its UK turnover in the next five years, is the North East Business Awards’ Durham and Wearside Company of the Year.

The company has already expanded its North East workforce by 30 per cent to 198 during the last three years and has an additional 30 staff based overseas.

Simon Lenney, managing partner at Yorkshire Bank’s Newcastle FSC says: “Yorkshire Bank is committed to increasing its market share of business, and has the money available to support enterprises with the right proposition. We are delighted to have helped Walker Filtration, a world-class manufacturer, with its re-location through our Investing for Growth initiative".

Yorkshire Bank’s Investing for Growth initiative also enables businesses to take loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments and extended loan and credit terms to support quality growth opportunities. Businesses taking up the package can re-invest the cash into their operation for expansion, new staff, equipment, machinery and commercial development.

Yorkshire Bank Newcastle FSC is part of Yorkshire Bank’s North East Team which also includes Tees Valley FSC, Stockton, working in multi-discipline teams encompassing corporate banking, private wealth management, treasury services and credit and operates a traditional method of banking with funding from deposits used to support investments in the local community.

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