MoD to invest in Sheffield Forgemasters after £2.56m acquisition

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Sheffield Forgemasters will have up to £400m invested into it over the next decade following the MoD’s acquisition of the 215-year-old manufacturer.

Sheffield Forgemasters
Image: Sheffield Forgemasters

Scheduled to be completed on 19 August 2021, the Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s £2.56m acquisition Sheffield Forgemasters will see investment made into defence critical plant, equipment and infrastructure to support defence programmes. These include a new heavy forge line and building, a flood alleviation scheme, major machine tool replacements and a site-wide HV upgrade.

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The announcement from MoD on July 28, 2021, is expected to retain and create new highly-skilled manufacturing jobs within the Sheffield City region.

In a statement, the company said it would ‘continue to operate in commercial markets with its existing equipment and will also look to exploit opportunities that may arise from the UK government’s net zero carbon agenda, including the off-shore wind and civil nuclear markets.’

The MoD is set to acquire 100 per cent ownership of Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL), the parent company of the Sheffield Forgemasters Group with no change to the corporate structure of the group. Subsidiary companies, including Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Limited and Sheffield Forgemasters Steel Limited, will remain wholly owned by SFIL.

The MoD state that SFIL is currently the only manufacturer with the capability to produce large scale high-integrity castings and forgings from specialist steels in an integrated facility to the standards required for defence programmes. SFIL’s ownership will not prevent other UK based manufacturers bidding for MoD contracts.

Welcoming yesterday’s announcement, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Steve Turner said: "This is the news we've waited two years to hear. Unite has been engaged in a long battle with the Ministry of Defence and the UK government to protect UK steel supply to our defence and nuclear programmes so today’s news will be welcomed with a huge sigh of relief right across our steel communities.

"It brings to an end years of instability for this, but is also a sign that government is maybe finally waking up to a crisis of its own making. Critical infrastructure industries like steel function better in public hands and advanced economies like our own need to have stable, secure domestic steel production capabilities to protect our national security interests as well as to compete in global markets.”