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SMD Wins Queen's Award For Outstanding Innovation

22 April 2011

SMD has been honoured with the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in the innovation category for the design and manufacturer of Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicles (WROVS).

The Wallsend-based company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of remote invention equipment, which operates in hazardous environments across the globe.

Each year, the Queen's Award is presented by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to enterprises and organisations in recognition of outstanding achievement in the categories of International Trade, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. The Queen personally approves the recommendations of the Prime Minister.

Already the Subsea UK Company of the Year 2011, this latest accolade continues another successful period for SMD.

Following the restructuring of its operations into five business streams ROVS, Trenching, Renewables, Nuclear and Mining the company has experienced strong growth. Turnover for the period 2009-10 increased by almost 50 percent to £61 million and the company is targeting another considerable rise in turnover by the end of 2011.

In 2010 SMD won the industry's largest ever single work class ROV order for twenty vehicles from Subsea 7, as well as the manufacture of the world's largest free stream tidal turbine for Atlantis Resources Corporation. Engineering design work also ramped up on the development of world-first deepwater mining equipment for Nautilus Minerals Inc.

SMD's most recent trenching ROV model, the Q-Trencher, has been utilised by operators in China and Japan, where it has been involved in subsea communications cable repair following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

SMD CEO Andrew Hodgson Delighted to Receive Queens Award for Innovation.

In addition to its riverside head office and manufacturing facility in Wallsend, and offices in Malton, North Yorkshire, Singapore, Houston, and Macae in Brazil, SMD has expanded its presence in the North East in the past 12 months.

SMD recently added a dedicated design office at the Cobalt Business Park and an additional production facility at the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, which will become an ROV Centre of Excellence.

This expansion, to meet the growing contract wins secured by SMD, has enabled the business to more than double its workforce from 120 to almost 300. Further recruitment is underway for an additional 30 positions for its North East and Yorkshire operations.

Andrew Hodgson, Chief Executive of SMD, said: "We have led the subsea ROV market for a number of years in terms of design and innovation and the Queen's Award is a marvellous acknowledgement of our achievements. Through the creation of the five business streams and the emergence of new energy markets such as renewables and new nuclear, we have further developed our product range to meet the challenges of these sectors and increase our presence in global markets.

"This award is testament to the creative skills and technical expertise of our engineers in our Research & Development and Production units supported by an outstanding team of people who continue to excel in their work for the company.