Sunderland companies get the royal seal of approval

Vince Armitage (left) and Colin Brinson-Pyke from Rayovac celebrate the company's Queen's Award success.

Vince Armitage (left) and Colin Brinson-Pyke from Rayovac celebrate the company's Queen's Award success.

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FIVE Wearside companies and one of the region’s leading business experts have been given the royal seal of approval.

Businesses from Sunderland, County Durham and a leading Durham University academic are among more than 200 recipients nationwide of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, announced today.

Seaward Group MD Rod Taylor

Seaward Group MD Rod Taylor

Overall, 151 companies have won Awards for International Trade, 50 for Innovation and eight for Sustainable Development.

North East winners of International Trade awards include Nissan, Boldon-based Immunodiagnostic Systems Limited, Rayovac Micropower and Walker Filtration, both in Washington and East Durham’s Seaward Electronic Limited.

Durham University’s Professor of Physics and Dean of Knowledge Transfer Professor Brian Tanner is one of just 11 recipients nationwide of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the highest accolade a business can receive.

Walker Filtration managing director, Lianne Walker, (front), with corporate development manager, Barbara Palmer and company founder and chairman, Brian Walker

Walker Filtration managing director, Lianne Walker, (front), with corporate development manager, Barbara Palmer and company founder and chairman, Brian Walker

“The standard of this year’s winners highlights the great work taking place by businesses to help boost the UK economy.”

Immunodiagnostic Systems Limited produces highly-sensitive biological tests for medical use and research.

Today’s announcement sees the firm recognised for its export sales and company growth.

During the award period, the company has doubled its workforce, turnover is up by more than 500 per cent, profits by 1,300 per cent and export earnings are up by 702 per cent.

Chief executive Ian Cookson said: “This is our third Queen’s Award and the receipt of the Enterprise in International Trade Award is a powerful recognition of the dedication of our employees, our growing customer base around the world and of the excellent science that underpins our business.

“It is a privilege to have been recommended by our Prime Minister David Cameron and we are delighted to receive this accolade from Her Majesty The Queen.”

Nissan’s award is the company’s fifth and honours its outstanding export achievement, with 80 per cent of its vehicles bound for foreign markets.

Vice-president for Manufacturing Kevin Fitzpatrick said: “Winning the Queen’s Award rounds off what has been an exceptional start to 2012 for the plant with the announcement of two new models and a major recruitment campaign. The award recognises the quality of the products we make at the plant – Qashqai, Juke and Note.

The continued motivation, commitment and flexibility of the Sunderland plant workforce is the reason why we win these awards, combined with successful products and the ability to react to market demand.”

Hearing aid battery manufacturer Rayovac is collecting its second Queen’s Award in two years, having received the Innovation Award for its new Mercury Free battery range in 2011.

This year’s award recognises an export sales rise of more than 60 per cent during the six-year award period.

Vince Armitage, Rayovac divisional vice-president, said: “This is another feather in the cap for Rayovac and our team at Washington. Demand for our products has been extremely positive and we’re looking forward to continuing our success.”

Peterlee-based Seaward Electronic Limited is honoured for the success of its Rigel Medical Division, which manufactures and sells electrical safety testing equipment.

It wins its first Queen’s Award for outstanding achievement in growing overseas earnings.

Managing director Rod Taylor said: “The Queen’s Award is one of the highest accolades a company can win and a real reward for the efforts we have made to innovate and enhance electrical safety testing technology over several years.”

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