THE BUSINESSES behind a new 15,000sq ft factory were described as a Basingstoke success story by one of the borough’s leading entrepreneurs last week.

Rafi Razzak, chairman of computer manufacturer Centerprise International, was guest of honour when he opened LG Motion and MiniTec UK’s new manufacturing premises on the Houndmills Industrial Estate.

The two precision engineering businesses, headed by managing director Gary Livingstone, held an open day to show guests, customers and business contacts around the premises. Visitors met staff and learned about the technologies on offer.

Both businesses complement each other, with MiniTec UK being a subsidiary of MiniTec Maschinenbau GmbH, from Germany.

At the opening of the shared factory was MiniTec Group president Bernie Bauer, who also attended the opening of the engineering firm’s former factory unit at Bessemer Park, in Bessemer Road, Basingstoke, back in 2005.

The two businesses make specialist equipment that can move probes, cameras, optics and lasers extremely accurately and boast clients such as AWE, BAE Systems and Siemens, Aardman Animations and QinetiQ.

Impressed with what he saw at the factory, Rafi said: “This is a success for Basingstoke.

“Just think about it – the current economic climate that we are going through, the uncertainty, how long is the UK going to be in recession and what’s the future of UK plc? Well, I can see that in these companies the grassroots of UK plc going forward.”

The award-winning businessman highlighted the fact that both engineering businesses actually produce products rather than just selling items or services – 50 per cent of which is exported.

Rafi added: “It’s not just about profit. It’s also about achievement – achievement with customers and employees. And I’ve seen nothing but harmony.

I’ve talked to a number of employees here and all I could see is a happy workforce – it’s a multi-cultural workforce, with British, Germans, Polish, Sri Lankan and others working together.”

Noting that Gary Livingstone has invested heavily in new precision machinery, Rafi praised him for his confidence to invest in the future with the new premises and equipment.

The chairman of Basingstoke Town Football Club also praised Gary for his involvement in the community, being a BCOT governor, and a fellow keen supporter of the football club.

Rafi concluded by saying to Gary and his team: “I could do nothing but wish you all the success in the future and hope you achieve your goals.”

During the day, presentations and hands-on demonstrations were shown to guests, and there were also trade-style stands on show from a selection of LG Motion and MiniTec distribution partners.

Gary, who in 2008 was a double winner at the INSPIRE Business Awards, scooping Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year, said he is delighted with the new premises.

The former BCOT apprentice said the two businesses have come a long way, especially in the last year, which has seen sales quadrupling in a very short space of time.

“In five years, we have made excellent and completely self-funded progress,” he said. “It is a testament to the team that we have been able to achieve this.

“The new facility gives us the room to manoeuvre, not just with greatly needed extra space, but the opportunity to take on much larger projects, expand our workforce and gear ourselves up for continued future growth.”