Merseyside maritime company Wren Industrial & Marine Fabrications has been bought by Merseyside entrepreneur and former member of the Armed Forces Jonathan Willoughby.
Bootle-based Wren Industrial has been run for 27 years by husband and wife team David and Helen Wren. It specializes in manufacturing doors, windows and hatches for ships and boats as well as welding and fabrication services primarily
in the maritime sector. Wren’s clients include the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and ferry operators Stena and the Isle of Man Steam
Packet Company. Wren’s doors can be found on the Royal Yacht Britannia while its engineering services have been deployed making canisters for Richard Branson’s hot air balloon and helping build clock towers on the Emmerdale TV set. On Merseyside Wren’s prime clients include Lloyd & Jones industrial supplies and Kirby pump maker Selwood.
Willoughby, who also runs welding and fabrication company Yorkwall Engineering in Ellesmere Port, said with David and Helen looking to step down the time was right to buy Wren Industrial and take it to the next level, aiming to double its £1 million turnover in the next 12 months.
“Wren has a really strong reputation in the maritime industry, particularly on Merseyside, for the quality of its work and its dedication to customer service,” he said. “My aim is to now build on that bedrock and grow Wren’s client base and brand nationally and internationally. Key to that growth drive will be clearly explaining to the marketplace what Wren can do. Yes we specialize in making water-tight and fire-rated doors, windows and hatches for ships but we are so much more than that. We have the expertise to undertake virtually any welding and fabrication job on any type of vessel. Wren literally receives hundreds of orders a year for welding and fabrication works but we need to raise awareness of our expertise and capability to the wider UK maritime industry. We want to showcase our track record to more shipyards, ship management companies, shipping agents and insurance companies
Willoughby said a big area for future growth for is engineering solutions.
“A key strength of Wren Industrial is its ability to find solutions to a wide range of welding and fabrication challenges,” he said. “That problem solving approach is hugely valued by our customers, so much so that virtually all our current business is repeat work, such is the degree of trust Wren has built with its customers. But to grow the company we have to communicate the quality of our work and facilities to a bigger audience. We have a very knowledgeable workforce of around 20 engineers who are Wren’s best selling point and springboard for growth. In addition, we have a 6000 sq ft workshop with a wide range of plant equipment enabling us to work with a variety of materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum and plastics.”
Willoughby, who has 25 years experience in the oil and gas sector, said the purchase of Wren Industrial is part of a wider growth strategy which will see him buy more complementary engineering companies, eventually merging all into one new brand name.
“My existing company Yorkwall specializes in fabrication services for the petrochemical sector, buying Wren Engineering diversifies our operations into maritime which helps protect and grow our group operations,” he said. “This is a really exciting time for our team and we see the group on an upward trajectory with considerable potential for sustainable growth. We are planning more acquisitions over the next 12 months.”