Wilton Universal Group has achieved strong growth through diversification and a growing position in the UK defence sector supply chain, according to its latest financial results.

In its annual report for the period July 2022 to June 2023, the Teesside-based Group has seen turnover increase by £3m to £23.25m with profit after tax at £2.08m.

The Group is also forecasting a strong 2023-24 financial year having grown its forward order book from £20m, for the period ending June 2023, to £24m by the end of October 2023.

This growth has been achieved through a strategy of market diversification implemented by the Group to counter the cyclical nature of its core industry, oil & gas, primarily into the defence sector.

Across the Group’s companies, Wilton Engineering Services Ltd and Universal Coatings & Services Ltd, the Group has secured orders in the defence and mining sectors alongside a number of projects from oil & gas.

Wilton Engineering Services Ltd built a strong order book of defence sector projects which has been converted into increased turnover and associated profit growth. This is forecast to continue into the next financial year and beyond as the Group negotiates long-term commitments on defence projects, which will present continued workflow for the future.

In the face of challenging market conditions and contract delays, Universal Coatings & Services Ltd, has increased turnover and returned to profit in the first quarter of 2023, predominantly as a result of additional workshop contracts.

Universal has the potential to experience further growth opportunities following the acquisition of a majority shareholding in the company by Denholm Industrial Services Ltd in November 2023.

This follows two years of collaboration between the companies and the co-ownership will allow Universal Coatings & Services Ltd to tap into new markets for defence and industrial energy projects.

Further diversification of the Group’s activities has been achieved through the expansion of its riverside facility on the banks of the River Tees.

The acquisition of the Haverton Hill Offshore Base expanded the Group’s site to 112 acres and, now operational, is delivering an additional income stream. It supports businesses operating in the logistics, defence and renewable energy sectors.

Bill Scott OBE DL, chief executive of Wilton Universal Group, said: “Diversifying our market and operations into defence has provided continuous working. This allows the business to focus on efficiency which has proven to be a successful strategy. Through our entrance and establishment in the defence sector supply chain, alongside maximising on the opportunities that have come from the expansion of our extensive riverside site, we have increased the sustainability of the Group and created a platform for further growth”.

He added: “This will contribute to continued investment in innovation, our capabilities and our people, both in terms of developing future generations through our apprenticeship academy and our existing workforce as well as attracting new people to the Group as we continue to grow.”