26 March 2020
Tell us a bit about your business? When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?
FuelDefend Global Ltd (FDG) started life as TruckProtect Ltd on 2005 and changed name as our products moved into sectors beyond trucks. The company was started by Russell Fowler, following a return trip to major diamond mine in Botswana where he was once Head Geologist. He realised that fuel theft from vehicles was not just a problem in Southern Africa, but the whole world.
The company operates from Chalfont St Peter just outside London and has a core staff of ten and a virtual team being double that. FDG has large open plan offices, which include its technical design team (and many fuel tanks!) to ensure a flow of ideas and operational items between all parts of the company.
What does the business do?
Fuel anti-siphons. While the most obvious manifestation is the familiar device fitting into the neck of a fuel tank, other protections are available for other parts of the fuel tank and fuel system. Fuel theft is usually relatively small volumes of theft on a regular basis and our main devices allow the normal high-speed filling of a tank, but prevents siphoning of the fuel. Our anti-spill valves within prevent any fuel “sloshing” or spillage even in the event of a vehicle overturning. We have other lines of locking AdBlue and fuel caps with very much the selling point being top quality.
How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
We supply four of the world’s largest truck manufacturers at HQ level and we’ve just signed up MAN Truck & Bus worldwide, so we’re looking forward to a very good future. We weathered the storm of the financial crisis, when commercial vehicle production virtually stopped worldwide, and Brexit posed challenges of peaks and troughs in ordering patterns. Approximately 90% of our business is overseas, so we’re largely immune to Brexit. We have manufactured in the same factories in China for 12 years and have been wholly unaffected by the corona virus for our supplies, however, no-one can be sure currently for the short-term as European and American vehicle production shuts down. Our devices are fitted at the time of purchase by the dealer and as a retrofit, so we have a business buffer. Our new, lower-priced ULTRAValue coated steel range presents an excellent offering to new markets.
What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
We’ve been first to market with many features such as the revolutionary short anti-siphon device (ASD) about 13 years ago, filling speeds of 120 litres per minute, retro-fit drop-in anti-spill valve (ASV) and first with the integral stainless steel gauze for best fuel flow speed, dirt filtering and improved security, so we enjoy design challenges as markets change. Electric vehicle sales are improving, but liquid fuels will be with us for decades to come around the world.
FuelDefend’s range contains a premium machined aluminium range, ULTRAPlus, a nickel-coated steel budget range, ULTRAValue, with external and internal models and, for the traditionalist, a floating ball-valve model; all of which we can scale up and down for new sectors including vans and large mining machinery.
This year will see the integration of new technologies into our products and new product types in the security and safety sector.
FuelDefend Global Ltd Chairman & CEO, Russell Fowler