Ipswich firm celebrates growth

AN IPSWICH firm is celebrating today after being named one of the fastest growing private businesses in the country.SEH, based in Crowcroft Road, Nedging Tye, featured in the Sunday Times' prestigious annual Fast Track 100 list.

AN IPSWICH firm is celebrating today after being named one of the fastest growing private businesses in the country.

SEH, based in Crowcroft Road, Nedging Tye, featured in the Sunday Times' prestigious annual Fast Track 100 list.

The civil engineering contractor came 93rd after its sales rose from £80 million to £129.5 million in the three years to 2006, a massive 61 per cent rise.

It was started in September 1971 by three men, Graham Emmerson, Colin Hewitt and Dennis Scannell, operating from premises in Spring Road, Ipswich.

They put just £700 each into SEH (Ipswich), as it was known then, and won their first contract to work as a sub-contractor on a sewage scheme in Wingham in Kent.

Six years later it moved to purpose-built premises in Nedging Tye and today employs 602 people and boasts a turnover of more than £140 million.

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Mr Scannell left the firm but Mr Hewitt stayed for many years, although he has now retired. Mr Emmerson is managing director today.

The three men set up the firm after working elsewhere in the industry.

Mr Emmerson said: “I had worked for Breheny and Biggs Wall and wanted to have some control over my future.

“We didn't set out to achieve a very high turnover but I am pleased to be in the Sunday Times list.

“We have become a big firm but we are hardly known around Ipswich.”

SEH Group is made up of several smaller businesses which work in areas including asphalt and joinery and in providing windows, doors and conservatories.

Much of its work is in Suffolk, south Norfolk, north Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Clients include Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpey East London and Barratt East Anglia - all major house-builders.

Another Suffolk firm also featured in the Sunday Times list.

Great Yarmouth based Oceanteam 2000, which provides services to the offshore oil, gas and wind power industries, came second.

It specialises in providing diving, survey and remotely operated vehicle licenses to offshore energy firms.

Oceanteam was set up in 1999 and the founders recently raised £50 million from a consortium of Norwegian investors.

Sales rose from £700,000 in 2003 to £20.1 million in 2006.

The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 is in its 11th year. It ranks businesses over a three year period.

The table excludes technology companies, which are assessed separately in the Tech Track 100.

Has you company experienced massive growth? Contact business reporter Peter Edwards on 01473 324797 or e-mail peter.edwards@eveningstar.co.uk

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