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Snell Advanced Media set to prosper and grow - here in Newbury

Chief executive of global giant sets out his vision and explains why West Berkshire is the place to be

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Snell Advanced Media set to prosper and grow - here in Newbury

MUCH has been made of the decision by Bayer to move its offices to Reading.

However, the chief executive of Newbury-based tech firm SAM: Snell Advanced Media, Tim Thorsteinson, says the industry leader has no intention of following the life-sciences giant out of town.

In fact, the technology manufacturer, based in Turnpike Road, is very much looking ahead to 2016, which bosses expect to be a year of growth and expansion while keeping the base of its global operations in Newbury.

Supplying equipment to some of the largest media organisations in the world, the firm has seen staff numbers almost double to around 350 as a result of a merger between technology firms Quantel and Snell in 2014.

And Mr Thorsteinson, who joined the company in March 2015, said that he considers Newbury to be the ideal location for the firm to base its manufacturing and research and development hub, with a local pool of talent that rivals some of the biggest cities in the world.

Speaking to Newbury Business Today, Mr Thorsteinson said: “We’re definitely staying here in the Newbury area.

“We have a long lease and there would be no reason for us to move.

“I have been in the business for 20 years, directly working in Newbury, Portland, Oregan and Toronto, and there’s more media talent within 100km of Newbury than any other of those cities.

“We have probably hired 70 people from within an hour away and for the people that have to relocate here it has reasonably-priced houses and plenty more to offer.”

The company, which provides equipment to media organisations all over the world, including the BBC, NBC and Fox, has seen a lot of change in the last year.

The decision was made by shareholders to merge Quantel, which had been based at the Turnpike Road site for around 30 years, with fellow tech producer Snell in March 2014, while rebranding the new firm SAM: Snell Advanced Media.

However, the global supplier of news and sports production systems was quick to confirm that the change would mean no redundancies and, according to Mr Thorsteinson, the firm would see growth in the final quarter of 2015 with a strong year expected in 2016.

“It’s a fairly specialist industry worth about £4bn or £5bn a year so it’s very competitive,” he said. “I’ve been brought here to grow the business because there’s no stability in tech unless you’re growing. 

“People always ask if we’re going to have lay offs and the answer is always ‘not if we’re profitable’.

“We’re expecting to see growth in this quarter for the first time in a long time and next year we’re hoping to acquire more, smaller companies to help keep us growing.

“Our biggest market is Europe but we’re also starting to sell more in the Middle East, and South East Asia, as well as the US.

“We’re also investing heavily in research and development because in this industry there are two ways to grow – start selling more products, or start selling somewhere new, and we’re doing both.”

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