Firms queue up for prizes

Queen’s Awards as popular as ever, as British industry celebrates its achievements

The high value of sterling, which is hurting exporters, does not show through in the winners of the Queen’s Award for Export named this week. The awards are based on figures supplied for up to the middle of last year.

One winner, British Steel – which exports over 50% of its £8bn sales annually of finished and semi-finished steel products – has been particularly hard hit.

Sterling’s 25% surge against the German mark has threatened to cut pre-tax profits for 1997-98 to £150m-£200m, down from more than £1bn last year.

However conditions may have changed, the awards are still highly valued by industry, as witnessed by the continued high level of entrants.

This year’s winners include machine tool manufacturers: Bridgeport Machines, Fletcher Smith, Molins Tobacco Machinery and PFE International. The 600 Group’s Electrox, based in Hertfordshire, and The Fin Machine Company of Sedgefield, County Durham, were all first-time winners.

Other first-time winners included Alwayse Engineering of Birmingham; Contract Chemicals, Prescot, Merseyside; James Dewhurst Manufacturing, Accrington, Lancashire; Electra Polymers & Chemicals of Tonbridge, Kent; Durham Chemicals, County Durham; Henrob, Clwyd; John Hogg Technical Solutions, Trafford Park, Manchester; Iggesund Paperboard, Workington, Cumbria; Innovative Technology, Royton, Oldham; International Gases and Chemicals, Newcastle under Lyme; Iveresk, Dunfermline; JCB Earthmovers, Orsok, Rotherham; and Victrex, Lancashire. Almost a quarter of this year’s awards went to previous winners.

For Environmental Achievement, London’s Autoflame engineering was honoured for its microprocessor based combustion control system.

Other winners included European Gas Turbines for its low emission combustor unit for industrial gas turbines; Rolls-Royce Industrial & Marine Gas Turbines, for its Dry Low Emission combustion system for industrial aeroderivative gas turbines; and Sony Manufacturing for its machine soldering process.