Industrial group signs new energy deal to support expansion plans

One of the West Midlands’ leading industrial groups has set out exciting plans for expansion after enjoying strong trading results over the last twelve months.

Rubery Owen, which was established over 130 years ago in Darlaston, has announced investment in a new facility at its Land Rover and Hyundai dealerships in Aberystwyth and a testing laboratory for its material testing division in Brierley Hill. The latter will specialise in bespoke materials testing across a variety of industry sectors.

This growth is throwing up a number of new energy management challenges and that is why the firm decided to tap into the expertise of Control Energy Costs after an introduction by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

CEC worked with the senior management team to provide a complete review of its current and future usage, exploring the possibility of bulk buying as a group whilst also identifying solutions to bespoke issues at individual companies.

It is a decision that is already paying off, with over £16,000 of annual costs already saved, with the potential of more to come as new energy management techniques are introduced.

“Our seven businesses are all growing and with that expansion comes an increase in the amount of energy we use,” explained Kevin McGuigan, Group Finance Director at Rubery Owen.

“Traditionally, we were purchasing it separately for each division, but quickly realised that this wasn’t the best approach and that we should really be looking to buy as a group. In order to do this, we wanted to work with a partner we could trust and that’s where Control Energy Costs came to the fore.”

He continued: “Our existing broker looked a more cost-effective option to begin with. However, it soon became clear that after a comprehensive review and complete transparency on the deals we could see that CEC could save us £16,000 immediately.

“With the increasing cost of power, it is important that we are able to access competitive energy prices. In addition, having an expert on board allows us to obtain the best economies of scale.”


Rubery Owen, which records annual sales of £55m and employs 187 people, operates seven companies, including Merlin Power Characterisation, Phoenix Materials Testing, Rotech Laboratories, Rozone, Rubery Owen Holdings, Shukers and Techtron.


The group covers a diverse range of markets, from motor retailing, materials testing and the design and manufacture of bespoke testing machines to battery management technology, innovative cleaning solutions and the formulation and blending and packing of chemical liquids.


With energy costs rising, CEC was introduced to the company by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and immediately set about collating all of the disparate supplier information and creating a complete overview of the portfolio.


There were a lot of suppliers involved and various contract end dates, with the majority of the divisions simply dealing with renewals a month or so before renewal.


A group tender was created to ensure Rubery Owen was tendering competitively and all end dates were aligned, making the firm a far more attractive proposition to the supplier.


Liam Conway, Head of CEC Direct, continued: “Our success with manufacturers comes from our ability to get under their skin and understand current and future energy requirements. We can then use our expert brokers to come up with the best possible deal, with transparency being key to all discussions.


“Rubery Owen was a prime example. At first, it appeared a different broker was a better option, but when we completed a forensic check the company could actually save £16,000 in its first year.”


Kevin McGuigan concluded: “I’m conscious there can be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the energy sector so the fact that CEC could demonstrate its transparency was a key reason why we went with them.


“Going forward, we will be using its knowledge to help us gain the best rate for the new testing facility in the Black Country, which will include testing at high-pressure, high-temperature and in gaseous environments.”


Control Energy Costs work with more than 900 retained clients across the UK, with

its team of analysts providing an initial, no-obligation audit and then working with the customer to identify existing issues and opportunities to reduce bills, whilst advising on improving future procurement strategies.


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