One U.S. firm bucking the downswing in business is Flotation Technologies Inc., a supplier of urethane-based deep-water buoyancy systems.
The company and its 70-plus workers plan to expand production using a 0.75-acre plot it just bought adjacent to its 45,000-square-foot facility in Biddeford, Maine.
The firm a subsidiary of Deep Down Inc., an oilfield services company for offshore exploration and production did not reveal financial aspects of the deal, but said an initial phase will expand the shipping and receiving area, improve roadway access and add parking for new workers.
A second phase will include a building expansion, the company added. Flotation Technologies said it has received all state and local approvals.
Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter and should be completed by the end of the second quarter, a company spokesman said, but he would not provide specifics about possible increases in production staff.
``We have experienced strong growth over the past three years and see no sign of this growth slowing, even in the current economy,'' said David Capotosto, Flotation Technologies' president, in a Feb. 2 news release. ``This expansion will allow us to meet and surpass our projected growth over the next three to five years.''
The firm claims to be a global leader in deep-water buoyancy systems used in sub-sea pipelines, umbilicals and other marine products based primarily on urethane elastomers and syntactic foams (foams filled with glass microspheres).
Those products are widely used in the offshore oil, oceanographic, seismic and government markets. Customers comprise many of the major companies in the oil and gas production sector including BP, Royal Dutch/Shell and Total, according to its Web site.
The Biddeford facility operates state-of-the-art automated production equipment including bulk dispensers for polyurethane elastomers and syntactic foam, as well as spray units for the application of PU elastomer protective coatings.
The plant's primary products include PU-based distributed buoyancy systems for flexible pipes and umbilicals, drilling risers, remote-operated vehicles, cable and umbilical floats, cable and pipeline protection, bend restrictors and installation buoyancy of any size and depth rating.
Flotation Technologies was founded in 1979 by David Cook, a pioneer in the industry, and claims it has been manufacturing syntactic foam longer than any other firm in the industry today.
The company was bought by Deep Down in June, adding to that firm's three other subsidiaries; together they generated sales of $19.4 million in 2007.