Company hit by Boxing Day floods is riding high one year on from disaster

Xavier Engineering Manging Director Ken McIlvennie shows Laurence O'Connor of Financial Affairs the flood barriers the company  have manufactured and installed.
Xavier Engineering Manging Director Ken McIlvennie shows Laurence O'Connor of Financial Affairs the flood barriers the company have manufactured and installed.

One year on from the devastating Boxing Day floods, that almost destroyed their business, bosses of a Padiham company are celebrating a successful year.

Xavier Engineering was at the heart of the worst floods the town has seen in 50 years on Boxing Day. The entire 3,500 square foot factory floor was flooded with the bill for the damage topping the half-a-million-pound mark.

Owner and Managing Director of the firm that was founded in 1994, Ken McIlvennie said: "At first we couldn't get anywhere near our premises as the water levels were so high.

"When we did get access at 6pm it was difficult to assess the damage. The factory floor was under three feet of water and we feared the worst and wondered what it would mean for our business."

Along with his business partner, Debbie Welch, Ken started the clean up operation and the company was up and running again in six weeks with the firm designing and installing its own flood barrier to its roller shutter door and doorways.

Ken attributes the quick turnaround for his firm to the service provided by their insurance company, NIG and insurance brokers, Burnley based Financial Affairs.

Ken said: "The whole process of claiming on our business insurance was dealt with smoothly and we had brand new machinery and business interruption payments allowing us to be back up and running within weeks while other local businesses were waiting months.

"We realise how lucky we were because had we not had the right level of flood protection within or insurance policy we would undoubtedly have gone out of business.

"Each machine that was damaged was worth £150,000 so there is no way we could have replaced machinery to the tune of a half-a-million-pounds without going through our insurance."

So after the worst possible start 2016 has turned out to be a great year for Xavier Engineering.

Ken added: "2016 has been extremely busy. We have expanded with two new machines and won new customers.

"I think we deserved it after the turmoil of last Christmas."