Space firm lands in Portsmouth

Bus company tells MP about plans for growth this year

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PORTSMOUTH has become the new home of a growing space technology company.

Netherlands-based SSBV has chosen the city as its main UK base for a new company after deciding to consolidate its UK operations following a restructuring.

Staff who were based in Stevenage are now in Portsmouth working for the new firm. The workers are a small team of just a dozen employees.

The new business has been called SSBV Space and Ground Systems UK.

The company occupies the former Raymarine ‘porthole’ building in Anchorage Park, opposite another well-known space business – Astrium.

SSBV manufactures parts of satellites which keep them pointing in the right direction as they orbit the Earth, as well as having a growing presence in defence and hi-tech industries.

SSBV chairman and founder Greg Sims and CEO Peter van Duijn launched the new business last week.

Mr Sims said: ‘We’re a company that’s based on traditional values, and since we started 25 years ago we’ve grown from a single company to an organisation based on five companies spread around the world.

‘We’ve also now got quite a bit of work in the aerospace sector, and recently we are moving to the defence and security sectors.’

It is also anticipated the company will move into the radar sector, manufacturing radar for satellites.

And while the new company is only six months old – with most of that time being spent on the refurbishment of its new home – the Portsmouth team is already looking to the future in terms of expanding its workforce.

The managing director of the new base is Ed Derbyshire, a University of Portsmouth graduate.

He said: ‘We’ve got a good pool of people with the right skills here in Portsmouth, and there are good skills being generated through the university, and particularly the electronic engineering department has a good reputation.’

He is hoping to be able to offer apprenticeship places for college-age youngsters, as well as offering placements to those students studying degrees in electronic engineering and software systems.

‘We need to get these people in,’ said Mr Derbyshire.

‘We have 12 staff now, and we’re hoping to expand by 20 at the end of the year, and between 30 and 40 in a couple of years’ time.’