US owner to revamp Bridgeport

US machine tool maker Goldman Industries aims to revive struggling Leicester-based firm Bridgeport Machines, which it bought earlier this year, by adopting new marketing and production techniques, the company told The Engineer this week. Greg Goldman, the US company’s owner and chief executive, said: `Goldman companies are much more application and process driven than Bridgeport. […]

US machine tool maker Goldman Industries aims to revive struggling Leicester-based firm Bridgeport Machines, which it bought earlier this year, by adopting new marketing and production techniques, the company told The Engineer this week.

Greg Goldman, the US company’s owner and chief executive, said: `Goldman companies are much more application and process driven than Bridgeport. In the long term, we might be able to attack the process in the UK and use our methods for more sophisticated production.’

Goldman’s US subsidiaries tend to sell machine tools direct to large companies such as General Motors and Ford, whereas Bridgeport supplies lower-tier firms. New UK markets for Bridgeport could include the aerospace industry.

Goldman said the £35m paid for Bridgeport in April was a fair price, given that the company was facing financial difficulties. `If anything, it was expensive given the state of the market.’ Bridgeport’s US parent company made a loss of £714,000 in the second quarter of this year.

Goldman said the combined group would be much stronger than its individual parts. `Financially, we can support Bridgeport during a downturn. But ultimately, it has to perform and make money.’

Bridgeport will launch re-specified versions of its entire product range at an open house in November, including the new VMC 1000 vertical machining centres. The VMC range will continue to be produced at its Leicester site, which employs 400 people.

Goldman said the firm would make decisions on further investment after talking with the UK management. But he ruled out sweeping changes: `The management there is very competent. We defer to them to manage the business.’

In the short term, Bridgeport in the UK will continue to report to its immediate US parent of the same name, but this may change.

`Consolidation is a long-term objective, if that is what makes sense,’ said Goldman.

Malcolm Taylor, Bridgeport’s managing director in the UK, said the Goldman takeover would improve prospects for the company: `Goldman is a company which understands the machine tool industry, and it needs understanding.’

Goldman also owns gear-shaper Fellows and Bryant, which makes grinders.