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Growth surges at Tharsus Group, defying Covid-19 downturn

20 April 2021

Tharsus Group, the parent company of advanced machines and robotics firm Tharsus and complex metal fabrication leaders Universal Wolf, today publishes details of its annual results for the latest financial year to 30 November 2020 (FY20).

Despite the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the broader UK economy, the Northumberland-based Group achieved strong growth throughout 2020 – revenue increased by 40% from £58m to £81m, while pre-tax profits almost doubled from £2.4m to £4.5m (83%). Strong positive cash flows have further strengthened the balance sheet, highlighting the Group’s resilience in a difficult year for the global manufacturing sector. This growth has resulted in Tharsus becoming one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of commercial robots.

Breaking new ground

The expansion over the last 12 months has been underpinned by a number of key customer wins and product innovations, including an extension of the existing seven-year partnership with Ocado Group to manufacture technology for its automated grocery fulfilment platform. Tharsus Group’s collaboration with British innovators has been complemented by new partnerships with international industry leaders such as BMW, showing confidence in the domestic manufacturing sector despite concerns around the impact of Brexit on UK productivity.

Growth at Universal Wolf has equally been driven by a combination of new innovations and an increasing pool of partners. This included an expanded partnership with Lontra, which is expected to be a valuable and growing partnership going forward as Universal Wolf assists the company in taking its innovative Blade Compressor technology from design stage to volume manufacture.

At the height of the pandemic, Universal Wolf also supported the NHS through the production of 750 beds, destined for the Nightingale Hospitals NEC and Glasgow. Working on behalf of Accora, Universal Wolf worked rapidly to make an initial delivery within 96 hours, with 260 beds delivered within just 10 days.

Tharsus Group finished the year with the appointment of Martin McCourt, the former CEO of Dyson, to its leadership team. With more than 40 years of experience in British manufacturing, Martin’s addition as a non-executive director is testament to the Group’s potential to scale and fully establish itself as a global industry leader.

In terms of product innovation, Tharsus reacted to the business need to safely help employees return to the physical workplace, creating the Bump personal motion system. Developed in just 12 weeks at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bump received a President’s Special Award for Pandemic Service from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Validated by the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Bump has since been deployed by the likes of FTSE 100 medical manufacturer Smith+Nephew, as well as the Virgin Money London Marathon, to facilitate social distancing in controlled workplaces and support business track and trace initiatives. The system helps colleagues make safer decisions in their workplace and supports organisations to create safer movement flows, identify risks and limit the impact of localised Coronavirus outbreaks.

Regional impact

As well as global excellence in the manufacturing sector, Tharsus Group’s progress over the last year has contributed to economic growth in Northumberland and the broader North-East region. The additional revenue generated through FY20 has helped to secure 84 additional jobs at Tharsus Group across the UK.

Tharsus is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of commercial robots, delivering progressive, robust and innovative automated solutions to companies such as DHL and Small Robot Co. As the working world significantly evolves to cope with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wider Group’s growth mirrors increased demand for solutions to business challenges based on robotics and automation.

Brian Palmer, chief executive officer of Tharsus Group, said: “The last year has been incredibly difficult for businesses across the world and our sector has been no different. While we are grateful for the opportunities presented to us, such significant growth is testament to the ability of the Tharsus Group team to deliver. Between finding new industry leaders to partner with and using robotics to develop solutions to the most pressing problems facing the world, we have been forced to adapt fast.

“Beyond financial growth, having an impact on the quality of the life of our colleagues, community, region and country is crucial to our identity. Whether building machines that engineer progress for our customers, or generating new jobs for the local economy, we are all about tech that matters and will continue to put this first as we scale.”