Local firms celebrate four decades of working together

Celebrating 40 years: (l to r) New Guard managing director Ben Cooper, Lithgow Perkins partner Joe Taylor, New Guard operations director Calum Doig and New Guard director Paul Cooper. (S)
Celebrating 40 years: (l to r) New Guard managing director Ben Cooper, Lithgow Perkins partner Joe Taylor, New Guard operations director Calum Doig and New Guard director Paul Cooper. (S)

Two local companies are celebrating 40 years of working together.

The relationship between New Guard Coatings Ltd, of Wetherby, and Harrogate-based Lithgow Perkins began in April 1977 and has continued to this day.

It started when Alan Cooper approached accountancy firm Lithgow Perkins for guidance on setting up a company specialising in protective coatings. The advice he received gave him the confidence and knowledge he needed to establish New Guard Coatings together with his son Paul.

New Guard’s recent expansion has been driven by the next generation within both companies. Ben Cooper, New Guard’s managing director, is the third generation to run his family’s business, while Joe Taylor is the youngest partner at Lithgow Perkins.

They’ve been working together to lead a growth strategy which has more than trebled New Guard’s turnover in five years. Despite being hard hit by the drop in oil and gas investment in 2016, the group’s 2017 turnover is projected to approach £5m, compared with £1.5m five years ago.

Paul Cooper, who is still one of New Guard’s directors, said: “It’s exciting times for New Guard and we have a lot of confidence in Lithgow’s professional ability to provide the right advice. That gives the directors peace of mind to get on with our key objectives.”

Those ‘exciting times’ have seen New Guard launch virtually-run subsidiaries in Delaware, USA, and Dublin, Ireland, and, earlier this year, open an office and warehousing facility in Houston, Texas.

The company has made two acquisitions within the last 24 months and is hoping to make more later this year, as well as establishing a subsidiary in both northern and western Europe within the next five years.

Joe Taylor said: “In the 1980s Lithgow Perkins took the decision not to expand but to retain its roots in the Harrogate area and develop strong relationships with local clients. Our work with New Guard is a great example of why this approach was so important – the knowledge and trust that has developed between us in the last 40 years is beyond compare.”