Coal miners in China use Hydra Mining Tools International’s cutting head to extract coal, without excessive dust and danger of explosion. Trading on Britain’s reputation for engineering excellence, this company reinvented itself after the collapse of the UK coal-mining industry. Chief executive Gordon McShannon and management bought the Yorkshire firm from receivership in 2000 and expanded internationally, opening Chinese and American subsidiaries and selling to Australia and mainland Europe, supplying customers such as mining giant BHP Billiton. Overseas turnover has grown 75% a year, from £2.4m in 2007 to £7.3m in 2009.
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