The Welsh tech firm helping car giant Ford save millions of litres of water

One of Wales’ fastest-growing businesses, Hydro Industries, has secured a lucrative water treatment contract with car giant Ford.

And in a huge vote of confidence in the growth prospects of the Llangennech-based business, which is a world leader in innovative water treatment solutions, Diane Engelhardt, the wife of former chief executive of Admiral Henry Engelhardt, has converted her £14.7m loan to the business into equity – giving her a 40% stake and valuing Hydro at £65m.

The business, which in 2014 was the fastest-growing indigenous business in Wales in the influential Wales Fast Growth 50 project, employs 30 people, with clients including Shell, T&T Salvage and charity WaterAid.

Its new environmental partnership with Ford’s engine plant at Bridgend will result in a huge 85 million litres of water being saved a year in the production process.

The new system will clean factory effluent more efficiently – returning 70% of the volume as reusable water, while supporting Ford’s ultimate goal of zero liquid discharge at the plant.

The tie-up opens up the potential for Hydro’s technology to be adopted at other Ford plants worldwide.

Wayne Preece, chief executive of Hydro Industries, said: “We are delighted to be working with a global player like Ford. We believe that there is huge potential to clean up waste water in plants around the world.

“What we are doing in Bridgend demonstrates Hydro’s ability to offer total water solutions to blue-chip industrial clients – and shows it can save our clients significant amounts of money too.”

On the debt for equity swap Mrs Engelhardt said: “ Hydro’s unique technology is capable of doing so much good for so many people. When it solves a problem, clean water is the result. I believe this will be another great success story for Wales.”

From its commercial inception in 2010, Hydro Industries has evolved from a technology developer to a provider of innovative water treatment solutions, delivering to a customer base that spans the globe, across the oil and gas, mining and automotive industries. It is also a provider of clean and safe drinking water in the developing world.

Mr Preece said: “While our core business is based around the large and profitable industrial waste water market, we are also passionate about using our groundbreaking technology to provide clean and safe drinking water to those who desperately need it around the globe.

“Using this twin-track approach, we believe that we can provide excellent returns to shareholders whilst changing – and saving – lives.”

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said of Hydro’s contract win with Ford: “This is excellent news for Wales and for the local economy. It is good to see Ford utilising the local supply chain and great to see a Welsh technology company developing a relationship with a global automotive brand leader. This is a win-win for Wales.”

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