Back in early 2019, Preston based Sapphire Utility Solutions closed their year with a Turnover of £22m. Fast forward 18 months and the company are on track to deliver sales of approx. £65 million for this current year. This significant growth shows no sign of slowing with turnover projected to surpass £100m in 2021 with further contract successes starting in April.
Over the past twelve months, the company have secured long term highway drainage framework contracts across the North West with Lancashire County Council, Wigan Council, Cumbria County Council, Stockport MBC and Bury Council. In addition, major contract successes with United Utilities, Yorkshire Water and Cadent have established them as a major supplier in the utilities market with further opportunities in the pipeline.
Since Michael Patel formed the company in 2013, it has become a major employer in the North West, with their new head office being moved to the former school at The Larches in Preston. The company are currently returning the grade 2 listed building, which was purchased during lockdown, to its former glory after it became derelict a number of years ago. The company has also secured another large office and operational depot in Bamber bridge which can accommodate over 150 staff and provides extensive storage facilities and a workshop to help maintain the existing fleet of 350 vehicles. To support this significant growth, the company have also invested over £3m in new vehicles over the last 12 months including a fleet of state of the art vans which have built in digital media boards to provide better communication to customers and communities.
Supporting this growth is the ever-increasing workforce which in the next six months will exceed 1,400 direct employees. To enable the business to effectively manage such growth, significant investment has been made in IT solutions to improve both back office efficiency with the new Redsky accounting system and also the introduction of a Network Intelligence System, which provides clients with real time network transparency and asset mapping.
The resilience of the business has been proven even through the current unprecedented pandemic challenges, where teams were granted key worker status to allow them to continue maintaining critical infrastructure for clients. These systems have ensured the ability to enable staff to continue operating whist working remotely during the period of lockdown.
Michael Patel said “The company’s growth and success over the last number of years is testament to our people and as somebody who has lived in Preston all my life, nothing gives me greater satisfaction that providing great career opportunities for people in our local communities as we continue to grow”.