HyperDrive has a rich and long history of producing premium products
Founded by Tom Wilcox in 1962, Kerax Ltd has been producing wax blends and lubricants for over sixty years. In that time, it has been associated with a number of renowned businesses in lubricants, waxes and fuels, including Duckhams, Burmah Castrol, BP and most recently Certas Energy.
In 1979, a 49% stake in Kerax was bought by the successful lubricants company Duckhams. Founded in 1899 by Alexander Duckham, the company had produced a number of revolutionary oils including New Process Oils in 1922, which promised control of carbon deposits. Europe’s first multigrade oil ‘Q’ in 1951 and their famous Q20-50 in 1956, which would drive them forward into involvement with Formula One racing. Although Duckhams had been acquired by BP in 1969, BP had announced their intention not to constrain the brand and so Duckhams remained largely autonomous. Kerax then operated as part of Duckhams, which led to an exchange of knowledge and investment, in 1982, when Duckhams introduced their iconic ‘Hypergrade’ brand. In 1983 BP took over responsibility for Duckhams’ production and the decision was made separate the operations of the two businesses.
After a thirty-year career owning and managing Kerax, Tom Willcox made the decision to retire in 1993 and sold the company to Dussek Campbell, but only after securing the jobs of the Kerax employees who wished to stay on.
Following the acquisition of the Kerax business, which resulted in a number being put up for divestment or closure. Ian Appleton was at that time an employee of BP on secondment and responsible for Europe and US businesses. Ian was chosen to lead negotiations with Paramelt who expressed an interest in buying the Chorley wax manufacturing business in 2005. The Chorley site was consequently sold to Paramelt, but due to having existing production capacity in Europe, Paramelt decided to shut the Chorley site down. It was at this point that Ian spotted an opportunity to build his own business.
The Chorley wax manufacturing and blending facility was acquired by Ian as a management buy-out in 2006. As the original company name of Kerax had not been taken up by another organization, Ian decided to return the Chorley business to its original name and set about rebuilding it.
In 2008 negotiations started with Claymore Lubricants, an oil blending company that was struggling in the climate of austerity and the growing banking crisis. Having suffered a serious fire in 2003, Claymore had lost a lot of customers during the interruption of the rebuilding process and in 2005 they had a new facility, but few customers. In 2009 they went into receivership and Ian bought the assets, deciding to make a return to his previous career in selling lubricants. In February of that year Claymore was re-branded as Euro-Oils and began trading separately from Kerax, supplying distributors with own labels brands.
By 2011 the new Euro-Oils had shown sufficient potential to justify major capital investment in the laboratory and filling lines, as well as increased storage space. The following year saw a ‘small pack’ strategy introduced, as well as heavy involvement in export to the Middle East, and by the year after that Euro-Oils had doubled its workforce and was producing over a hundred brands for sale through a variety of distribution channels.
In 2014, the Euro-Oils business became part of Kerax while continuing to trade as Euro-Oils and the following year, it was merged entirely into Kerax. Kerax lubricants division launch their premium HyperDrive and AgriDrive lubricant brands at Automechanika Birmingham 2016 basedin the Redditch manufacturing facility with 30 employees.
The HyperDrive business was acquired by Certas Energy UK Limited on 30 November 2018. Find out more about Certas Energy Lubricants https://certasenergylubricants.com/
View the timeline here https://hyperdrivelubricants.com/about-us/kerax-history/