The Ministry of Defence is to buy Sheffield Forgemasters, saying that it intends to invest up to £400 million in the company for plant, equipment and infrastructure critical to the defence industry over the next decade. The purchase, for £2.56 million including debt, is to secure the supply of vital parts for the Royal Navy. Sheffield Forgemasters can trace its origins to the 1750s as a blacksmith’s forge. It became a full commercial enterprise in 1805. The takeover, which will preserve 600 jobs after the company cut 95 late last year, will go through next month after shareholders including Graham Honeyman, the former chief executive, and then business’s employees’ trust agreed to sell to the government. It will be run by its existing management. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite union, said that the news would be “welcomed with a huge sigh of relief right across our steel communities” after his organisation had fought to protect UK steel supply.
Times 29th July 2021 read more »
The UK government has nationalised the defence manufacturer Sheffield Forgemasters to secure the supply of parts that are vital for the Royal Navy’s ships and submarines. The Ministry of Defence said it would spend £2.6m to acquire the whole of the company, and planned to invest as much as £400m over the next decade to replace critical equipment and infrastructure required for its military production capacity. Most of the companies capable of building the reactor pressure vessels for the UK’s nuclear submarines are located in potentially hostile countries such as Russia and China, as well as South Korea. US manufacturers are focusing on providing for their own navy’s vessels. Steve Hammell, the company’s chief financial officer, said it was hopeful of securing work on small modular reactors. Forgemasters has provided technical support to the consortium, led by Rolls-Royce, its largest customer. Rolls-Royce hopes to use the reactors in 16 small power stations around the UK. The project has not yet received the full go-ahead, but Hammell said it could be an opportunity for the company within five years. Hammell said the company also hoped to take advantage of the government’s desire to use more British steel in projects such as the enormous Dogger Bank offshore windfarm. Forgemasters will try to use its new government links to build the 150-tonne hub castings that sit at the centre of the huge turbines.
Guardian 28th July 2021 read more »