Managing Director of Spraylat International Ltd, Andrew Keir was invited on to Stuart Linell’s afternoon radio show on BBC Northampton to speak about the Sir David Attenborough Naval Ship project, Spraylat and Brexit.
Stuart began the interview by asking how Spraylat got involved with the Sir David Attenborough project, Andrew said “We were very fortunate that Cammell Laird picked our details up from our website, we sent a representative up there [to Birkenhead] and the challenge was to paint the boat, to match the colour, the only wanted the top part of the boat painted on a temporary basis and I’m please to say we had exactly the product to do the job.”
Stuart then added “We call it a specialist product, is it a secret product or can anybody access it?” to which Andrew replied, “It is a secret product, there’s no patent on it, it’s a little bit like Coca-Cola, the formulation is closely guarded”. “So you’ve got a secret ingredient have you” jokingly asked, “We have one or two secret ingredients” Andrew responded.
Stuart also asked Andrew “Do you use this, or have you used this [Protectapeel] on other vessels?” to which he answered “Yes, we used it on Roman Abramovich’s yacht, we used on it on the Queen Elizabeth II carriers and the Prince of Wales aircraft carriers, we have a few prestigious projects under our belt”
“I tell you what you’re using quite of lot of material there, those two aircraft carriers aren’t exactly little dinghys. And as for Roman Abramovich’s yacht, I’ve seen it in a harbour in Portugal some years ago, that is huge!” Stuart proclaimed. “It is absolutely massive, I’ve been fortunate enough to be on it. It has 8 decks and the swimming pool is below the dance floor, the dance floor slides back and you can jump in the swimming pool, absolutely unbelievable.” Andrew commented.
Stuart added “Not to mention the helicopter on top!” before asking Andrew “Do you have lots of orders in the pipeline, is the order book looking good?”. Andrew said “Order book is very good, thank you yes, we export our products to 24 countries around the world, export represents around 65% of our total revenue and it amongst the exciting products we have some fairly straightforward projects where we protect glass and floors and walls in the construction sector”.
Stuart mentioned “In 2017 you won the SME award for innovation, 2018 you came runners up, how many people do you employ?”, “We have 14” Andrew answered. Stuart then added to his prior question “So are you growing, is there likely to be more jobs there as a consequence of this bulging order book?” Andrew responded “Absolutely, we doubled our sales in the last 5 years and during the next 5 years we hope to double our sales again so we will be employing more people.”
Stuart then moved on to talk about Brexit with Andrew by first asking “Does Brexit worry you?” Andrew answered “It does. It does because about 60% of our raw materials are sourced from central Europe, we’ve taken action by increasing our stock of raw materials, yes, the thought of materials being delayed at the ports is a concern to us.”
“So, if there was a no deal [Brexit], that would be a worry for you?” Stuart questioned to which Andrew responded, “It would be yes”. Stuart added “I know you have to choose your words carefully, none of us really have a clue what’s going to happen and that uncertainty can’t help, can it.”
Andrew said “It doesn’t help, our customers are getting nervous as well, so we’ve had to issue a number of statements, and disclose our Brexit plan, which is not a problem, but as you say it’s the uncertainty and unknowing that makes things quite difficult.”
Stuart agreed with Andrew and observed “that it is interesting that you say you had to issue these statements to sort of give people an idea of what your plans might be, not knowing what the Brexit scheme is going to be at the end of the day”. “So, are you saying to people ‘We will undertake to fulfil your orders regardless’ or what are you saying?” Andrew answered “What we’re saying is, the action that we have taken will be to increase our stockholding so that we can aim to fulfil orders. Other than that we can’t give them any more reassurance.”
Stuart jokingly commented “I know what we’d probably all like to do in regards to my next question, if you’re in a dark room with several politicians, but would you like to simply bang their heads together and say look, get this sorted?”. To which Andrew concurred “Absolutely, yes and listen it [Brexit] is a hugely complex decision, it has divided the country but I think there has been a vote and that really the politicians, regardless of the party they represent, they owe it to us to get their heads together to get this sorted out as quickly as possible.”
Stuart added “and loads of businesses are saying that to them now, we’ve seen Dyson move out, we’ve heard Airbus giving them a heavy warning to what they’re doing and you from your base in Corby are saying similar things. Are they listening to business do you think?”
Andrew responded “I don’t know, we did actually have a visit from our local MP about six months ago…”
“That’s Tom Pursglove of course.” Stuart added.
“…It is Tom, yes, thoroughly nice guy and took quite a lot of time to look round and speak to our people and I made the point then that we were concerned purely from our business perspective about the delay of materials going to and from the ports.”
Stuart finished the interview by saying “Well look, lets hope for all our sakes, we get a sensible solution on that [Brexit] in the due course. Congratulations on the success of your company, I hope it continues. Andrew thank you for joining us”
Listen to the full interview here: