An air, water and effluent treatment business which started in a tiny Bradford office and is now a multi-million pound international business is celebrating its 25th anniversary Peter Ripley, managing director of Skipton-based ACWA Services, one of the firm’s original three founders, said the £50 million turnover business – which now employs more than 100 people – is on track for further growth as demand for major infrastructure projects picks up.
ACWA has around 60 of its staff based in the Middle East, which is a key market.
Work has included contracts totalling £80 million since 2004 to bring high-quality drinking water to Palm Island, a spectacular man-made island off the coast of Dubai, building desalination and sewage treatment plants. The firm has also completed major projects in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.
Mr Ripley said ACWA was close to landing an order for a £270 million project to build a water treatment and sewage plant for Center Parcs at its new holiday centre at Woburn in Bedfordshire.
ACWA’s first project was for Dale Farm Foods, which later became part of Northern Foods, followed by Ruddles Brewery and synthetic fibre manufacturer Finicisa in Portugal.
Since 1987, ACWA has worked for several leading UK utility companies, including Bradford-based Yorkshire Water, as well as overseas utility firms such as Oman Wastewater Company; the Water Authority of Jordan and the Riyadh Sewage and Water Authority. Industrial clients have included Kelloggs, Pilkington Glass, Nestle, Heinz, Rolls Royce, Coca Cola and Ford.
While ACWA suffered from the global downturn in 2009 and 2010, last year business recovered and Mr Ripley said the next two or three years should produce strong growth, with several major projects in the pipeline.
In 1992, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Co became the company’s majority shareholder and enabled ACWA to expand and move to Skipton’s Acorn Business Park Recent expansion created seven new jobs and the recruitment of the first apprentice for several years – 20-year-old Becky Greenwood from Skipton.
Peter Ripley said: “It is hard to believe that it is 25 years since we set this business up in a broom cupboard in a Bradford mill belonging to a wool scouring firm and now we are an established leader in water, wastewater and air treatment around the globe.
“ACWA is now firmly established as a major player in the UK and Middle East and has a fast-growing joint venture company in the USA as well as highly-successful contracts in the China and Vietnam markets.
“We’re already looking forward to the next 25 years and aim to build on our experience and expertise to provide solutions to both drive the economy and help resolve the world’s pressing environmental problems.”