Brexit: Essex marine engine firm stocks up amid 'uncertainty'

Energy firm's warehouse Image copyright MAN Energy Solutions
Image caption "What we want from the politicians is a successful Brexit that doesn't disrupt trade flows," said Richard Guest

An engineering firm has stockpiled key components worth £2.5m due to "uncertainty" over Brexit.

MAN Energy Solutions, which makes marine engines in Colchester, said the move was part of its "risk mitigation".

The company has also reviewed export arrangements and would use other ports if delays occur at Dover.

Richard Guest, managing director, said: "We don't know what we don't know. It is important we can cope with changes very quickly as they arise."

Image caption Richard Guest said 30% of the components used in production at its Hythe Hill plant came from the EU

MAN Energy Solutions is part of a Europe-wide group, worth €3bn (£2.58bn), which in turn is owned by Volkswagen.

It manufactures engines, exporting mostly to Asia, the Middle East and South America. Only a small proportion of its products are sold in Europe, but 30% of its key components come from the EU.

Mr Guest said "uncertainty" over the UK's departure from the EU was already forcing change in the supply chain, adding that British business needed stability to attract future investment.

"What we want from the politicians is a successful Brexit that doesn't disrupt trade flows," he said.

Volkswagen had invested £4m in the Colchester plant over the last two years and overseas business had grown by 30% during that time, said Mr Guest.

Image copyright MAN Energy Solutions
Image caption A 12-cylinder high speed marine engine under construction

Mr Guest told the BBC East Sunday Politics programme that MAN Energy Solutions carried out a full risk analysis of possible Brexit scenarios.

He said £2.5m of vital components were being stockpiled and multi-currency contracts were being considered to counteract potential exchange rate fluctuations.

Other measures included using ports in the north east of England and shipping goods to the Republic of Ireland via Liverpool.

But Mr Guest said MAN Energy Solutions could do well after Brexit.

"Some of our UK operators who previously relied on European suppliers will be looking for a UK-based supplier to provide their equipment," he said.

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