MQP – a specialist in high efficiency grain refiners to reduce costs and eliminate defects such as razor streaks in aluminium alloys – has won a global business award after a year of incredible growth.

The Midlands-based firm was presented with the Best Import/Export award by TV sports commentator Gabby Logan at the 2023 BizX Awards at London’s ExCel.

It’s been a year of phenomenal growth for the Solihull family-run business, which has increased its tonnage by more than 30% and saw profits jump by more than 600% in 2022.

The award went to MQP for how it ships its aluminium grain refiner, an essential addition required in the casting of sheets and billets for everything from kitchen foil to car roof panels to prevent cracks and defects.

Chairman John Courtenay said: “To ensure customers have access to our products quickly and easily, we hold stock in warehouses across the world,” he said.

“These include a warehouse in Rotterdam to service Europe, and Kentucky, where there are a high number of aluminium processing plants, to service North America. The new supply chain has also enabled us to hold stock in Shanghai, China.

“One of our biggest customers is in Kentucky and they can pick up a pallet at short notice if they need to. If a customer wants to put in a replacement order a few months before they need the product, we will store it for them until they want it delivered, giving them that extra level of certainty that the stock is there. Our customers say that having access to stock nearby is definitely a USP of ours and, often, they will buy from us instead of a US company, same with China.

“While it does mean we have to absorb changes in price on the London Metal Exchange at times, it’s a USP that really benefits our customers. It’s fantastic to be recognised for what is quite a unique shipping model in the industry.”

Optifine grain refiner, developed on the back of the realisation that refiners on the market were notoriously inconsistent in performance, resulting in defects, poor quality material and waste, is produced at the STNM plant in Baoding, China.

This is a high capacity production plant with significant expenditure on research and development, extensive global stocking facilities, excellent quality control procedures and cost reduction due to efficient low cost base manufacture.

MQP itself operates through a network of consultants and distributors with offices in all parts of the world, from Australasia to South Africa, Europe to the Americas.

The Optifine range includes Optifine 5:1 125, which is 35% more efficient than the closest competitor on the market and means casthouses need 85% less product to consistently achieve high quality results, a particular game-changer for producers of automative body sheets (ABS) for the booming aluminium electric vehicles market.

Crucially, Optifine 5:1 125 – developed with a team of scientists from the Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology at Brunel University London – is made with low carbon aluminium, meaning it’s manufactured using hydro-electric power or wind power which results in far lower polluting CO2 emissions.

MQP also takes customers’ production scrap aluminium and melts it down to create its grain refiners, as well as master alloys, which they ultimately buy back.

The company is a key sponsor of Brunel’s University London’s £4.5m Centre for Circular Metals, which aims to help the UK become the first country to fully recycle and reuse its metals and shift towards a carbon-neutral, circular economy.

MQP won Most Innovative Company at the 2022 BizX Awards, organised by leading business coaching franchise ActionCOACH to celebrate business excellence across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.