A fuel management specialist in Romsey has been named by The Sunday Times as one of the UK’s fastest-growing privately held companies. 

SDM Fuel Solutions, which employs 45 people from its base at the Broadlands Estate, was ranked 14th in the country due to its annual sales growth of 174.98 per cent over three years.

Managing director Simon Mayne said the firm has seen annual sales exceed £6.1m with that figure on course to more than triple this financial year.

The company was founded by Simon, 37, and his late father in the family’s garden shed in the village of Binsted, near Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

With roots in the repair and maintenance of boats at marinas, SDM Fuel Solutions expanded into tank cleaning after the son decided to see for himself what was involved in cleaning diesel tanks.

The company has plans to build a highly sustainable headquarters near Romsey on eight acres of disused land which would generate its own renewable power.

Simon said: “We’ve gone from starting out in a garden shed to a 20ft container to a warehouse and then offices for 75-plus people, with the exciting ambition for the new HQ, which would accommodate up to 200 people and includes a staff café, kitchen garden and a tree hide.

“I know my dad Simon, who passed away at 58, four years ago, would be incredibly proud of what has been achieved by his family and colleagues - The Sunday Times accolade will bring a wide smile on his face as he salutes us from above with a mug of tea."

Simon’s father was well respected on the Isle of Wight – he owned SDM Marine Services, which managed the conversion of the Isle of Wight lighthouse from manned to unmanned.

He was joined by his son, who came from a background in superyachts, in 2009 and they initially focused on fuel treatment.

Then, in 2011, came the eureka moment; younger Simon saw a commercial future in tank cleaning, having seen first-hand how badly it had been done elsewhere.

Simon added: “Intrigued, I took a £300 course on tank cleaning and came back home on a Red Jet ferry across the Solent stinking of diesel.

“I said, ‘Dad, this is the way we should be going’, and our wives agreed – they were the ones who said we should really do this, they pushed us.

“As a result, SDM Fuel Solutions, incorporating my dad’s initials, was borne, with us growing tank cleaning and additive services in the marine sector. A massive fuel specification change in the industry also led to demand.

“We subsequently expanded into the tech sector, including FTSE 100 companies - data centres must have diesel generators as emergency back-up in case of outages because these are mission-critical business systems.

“The power generators need to run smoothly at a moment’s notice; there can be no room for contaminated fuel as this puts resilience at risk."

As well as cleaning tanks that can hold up to 2 million litres, the company’s services include 24/7 emergency fuel, fuel polishing, fuel recovery, fuel sampling and site surveys, fuel uplifts and transfers, hydrotreated vegetable oil fuel, gas-to-liquid fuel, bespoke Jetstream filtration, fuel sampling kits, fuel testing, fuel cleaning and land decontamination.

Meeting The Sunday Times’ eligibility criteria, SDM Fuel Solutions has grown from a turnover of £250,000 to £6.2m within four years due to significant commercial demand; a spin-out property division, which purchases and redevelops petrol stations, is expanding.

Simon put the success of the company down to ‘’great people and timing.'

He also applauded the pivotal work of three colleagues who helped his father – Dean Scott, who held the fort while his dad was ill, Carl Shephard and Craig Chiverton.