The UK Government is to acquire specialist steel makers Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited.

The MoD said that the firm is the only available manufacturer with the skills and capability to produce large scale high-integrity castings and forgings from specialist steels in an integrated facility to the highest standards required for its programmes.

SFIL is the only available manufacturer with the skills and capability to produce large scale high-integrity castings and forgings from specialist steels in an integrated facility to the highest standards required for these programmes. Furthermore, SFIL’s ownership will not prevent other UK based manufacturers bidding for MOD contracts, which will continue to be run in an open and fair competition.

The MOD has already started working closely with the company to implement best practice governance that will ensure appropriate financial oversight to secure the company’s future success, with the aim eventually to return the business to the private sector”, the department said in a statement.

The MoD also said that it intends to invest up to £400 million for defence critical plant, equipment and infrastructure into SFIL over the next 10 years to support defence outputs. The acquisition has been assessed as the best value for money for the taxpayer due to the unique capabilities and circumstances.

The immediate cost of the acquisition is understood to be £2.56 million for the entire share capital of the company plus debt assumed.

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David
David
30 days ago

Who’d of thunk it, the Cons nationalizing an industry.

Now, if they could do same for the railways and leave the NHS alone, I might think about thinking about Con… 😉

It is a strategic asset and at this very moment another strategic is company is possibly being sold out to the Americans who asset stripped another strategic company; we need certain abilities retaining within the UK.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
30 days ago
Reply to  David

It would appear to be evidence of a defence industrial strategy: amazing as that would seem. I agree that SF is a vital part of the submarine and nuclear supply chain. Ultra is the reason that the UK leads on sonar. It should be protected. Cobham was the reason the UK lead on loads of stuff like AAR – its sale was a massive mistake as it was promptly asset stripped. To be honest it wasn’t sold for that much anyway mainly because it started to play in a range of non core markets. Strip that away and the core… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
30 days ago
Reply to  David

Haven’t they already announced the Railways are going back under state control ? I’ll let Boris know about your vote offer next time I see him I’m sure he’ll be delighted !  😁 *

David Barry
David Barry
29 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

No, they are not. The Williams Shap report gets a thorough airing in August’s Modern Railway.

Mark B
Mark B
28 days ago
Reply to  David

That is the trouble with assumptions. BJ hasn’t just parked his tanks on the centre ground – he was already there. Maybe left of centre even.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago

OT, apologies.

1st Sea Lords Summer Address.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCngT302uVY

Duqm will be the base port for the east of Suez LRG ( E ) Previously anywhere from Diego Garcia to Sembawang was speculated here.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago

Excellent news.

John Clark
John Clark
30 days ago

I agree Daniele, I’m cautious about Nationalisation, but on this occasion, it’s exactly what’s needed.

maurice10
maurice10
30 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

When you think back to both WW1 & Two the amount of homemade hardware was huge, and this policy is a nod to both immediate requirements and strategic contingency.

expat
expat
30 days ago

I’m on the fence. I’m not disagreeing the capability needs to be maintained and if nationalisation is the only way then so be it. SF needs huge investment to make it more efficient to win more business and that may result in job losses as new automated plant requires less personnel to operate. That’s not a great political position to be in. So more likely it well remain low margin or loss making business propped up from the defence budget.

James
James
29 days ago
Reply to  expat

Better it exists with less staff than doesnt exist at all.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
30 days ago

At last., but I think it should not be the MoD. As I’ve argued here before, I think now is the time to form a new UK Strategic Assets & Capabilities agency that is responsible for overseeing and ensuring we don’t drop a ball in or sorts of critical areas, or overspend.

Andy P
Andy P
30 days ago

Not against that idea although I guess the MOD could sell it on if it comes to pass.

Hopefully it can even turn a profit for MOD.

expat
expat
30 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I doubt it will turn a profit… nationalised industries historically lagged behind the private sector in productivity.

Andy P
Andy P
30 days ago
Reply to  expat

Historically yeah but I can’t think of any recent comparisons so maybe lessons learned. Who knows.

David Barry
David Barry
29 days ago
Reply to  expat

Again, this month’s Modern Railway; look at the amount of subsidy spent on the railway:
In £Bns
1985, 12 – BR
1990 6 – BR
1995, 18 – changeover.
2000, 7
2005, 25
2010, 12
2015, 9
2020, 42

So a nationalized railway was becoming both customer focused and efficient.

Do you remember Railtrack 😉 ? Corner gauge cracking? Potters Bar?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
29 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Ha! When I started working on the railway Railtrack were in charge. Didn’t last long.

peter Wait
peter Wait
29 days ago

Do they use cheaper grade rails in the UK, the expansion of welded rails here seems greater than Germany which has wider temp range?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
29 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

I don’t know Peter, not my area.

Expat
Expat
29 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Once it’s nationalise I’m sure we’ll see driverless trains and fully automated railway within years. 🙂 i lived oversea and travelled daily on a fully automated train for 4 years, it was cheap and the 45 minute journey was only late once. That’s stuff us Brits can only dream of.

Are those numbers adjusted for inflation and passenger numbers? From stats I just looked at passenger numbers were declining under BR, surely if the service was improving numbers would have been going up not down?

defcon
defcon
30 days ago

Total waste of money. This is not a strategic asset, this is all about politicians posing in front of Forgemaster’s kit and “supporting British industry”.

We don’t need a national forge, the French have at least two that we can use. No one goes to Forgemasters unless there forced to.

Meirion x
Meirion x
30 days ago
Reply to  defcon

A French plant is more likely to be on strike, than a British equalent! And they are now a foreign competitor, so what makes you think they will continue to supply us, Not arm twist us back into the EU!

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
30 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Exactly, look back at how they threatened to cut power to Jersey. Macron is a snake who is deliberately stirring relations to try and improve his poll ratings.

dan
dan
30 days ago
Reply to  defcon

Reminds me of the Forgemasters in Castlevania. haha

Johan
Johan
30 days ago
Reply to  defcon

FRANCE is not in the UK, and why put money into French pockets, they dont pay tax in this country. bet you eat Avocados for Breakfast and drive a Wanye Wover

James
James
29 days ago
Reply to  defcon

What a load of crap.

Paul.P
Paul.P
29 days ago
Reply to  defcon

Steel is a higher technology product than is generally recognized. This company is not making cutlery. Forgemasters makes the sorts of steel you need for high tech military and nuclear hardware. As a nation we need to be able to guarantee control over a source whose strategy and operations we can direct.

Last edited 29 days ago by Paul.P
defcon
defcon
27 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Ultimately, if you care about UK defence you would oppose the takeover. Why should forgings be preferenced over the thousands of other components needed to build an SMR or similar? Should we have an autarchy-type capability to build an entire reactor in the UK? Why is steel special? We will always rely on our allies to make a full weapon system, as they do on us. The French (or US or Canada etc) need British tech, as we do their’s. That’s how international supply chains work. We should stop wasting the £100s of millions through loan guarantees/indirect subsidies to Forgemasters… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
27 days ago
Reply to  defcon

Yes, culture does come into the equation. It’s a question of balance. With their approach the French have produced Fremm, Eurocopter, Airbus, Arean, VCBI, Rafale and their own nuclear subs and warheads. Not a bad scoresheet. It’s called long term govt- private partnership investment in strategic technologies. We are making a pig’s ear of Ajax, having to depend on the US to rebuild Astute skills and the Germans to help us build an infantry vehicle and the US and/or Leonardo to build our helicopters. Our Victorian empire was built on industry. So must Global UK. Resources are not limited. It’s… Read more »

James Smith
James Smith
26 days ago
Reply to  defcon

I totally agree with you, too bad nationalism is taking over patriotisms …The French steel is already on all the Royal Navy Trident Submarines and Thales a French defense contractor has announced it will deliver the “digital heart” that powers the Royal Navy’s next generation Type 31 Frigates. Sometimes it make sense to buy what you do not have specially in times of poor economics and focus on what we are doing best , building ships …

peter Wait
peter Wait
29 days ago
Reply to  defcon

A country without specialist steel forgings is third world, buying from abroad is a drain on the economy and is one step further to China taking over the world!

Mac
Mac
28 days ago
Reply to  defcon

Some of us remember when we decided to rely on the Belgians to supply the ammo for the FN SLR rifles we bought from them. As soon as the Falklands broke out, they slapped an arms embargo on us. You think the French will be better, after they threatened to cut off electicity supplies to Jersey? After Brexit they are really not on our side (if they ever were).

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
27 days ago
Reply to  defcon

“Sheffield Forgemasters International (SFIL), which plays a critical role in the supply chain of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet” From Sky news. Now, maybe your view may be different, but I would say a large foundry capable of casting huge pieces and with the capacity to produce a considerable quantity of steel that also has a significant role in providing material for our submarines is a strategic asset. I don’t exactly want to rely on the French forges for high level stuff like that, especially after the business over Jersey and Guernsey and they would by all likelihood prioritise their… Read more »

James Smith
James Smith
26 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Just saying the Trident submarine are built with French steel, like other ships of the Royal Navy. And as for Jersey the never as been an official governmental threat to cup the power, that was a stupid local mayor over acting. You are falling for the propaganda.

Peter lee Cartledge
Peter lee Cartledge
30 days ago

I’ve visited there plant- back in the early 2000’s.
Other than the forging work they were doing for us, they were working on a MOD project then.

Benjamin Rule
Benjamin Rule
30 days ago

In the late 1980s they were working on an Iraqi defence project too.

Albion
Albion
30 days ago

What budget is this coming out of? If Defence, then there needs to be additional funding for it.

Johan
Johan
30 days ago
Reply to  Albion

From the Foreign Aid budget, pmsl

John Hartley
John Hartley
30 days ago

This is why the UK needs its own sovereign wealth fund to reshore industry to the “red wall” seats. Pay for it with small extra tariffs on Chinese goods. They have had high import tariffs on UK goods for decades, so it is only fair.

dan
dan
30 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The last Western leader that stood up to the Chicom’s unfair tariffs was voted out of office last year. And Biden reversed all the tariffs Trump put on China so that boat has long since sailed.

John Hartley
John Hartley
30 days ago
Reply to  dan

Why? The dodgy deals Biden’s son did with China, may explain why Biden Snr reversed Trump’s tariffs, but that does not stop us bringing in matching tariffs on Chinese goods.

Sean
Sean
29 days ago
Reply to  dan

Nope thats anti-Biden propaganda. True during the election he appeared softer on China, but since taking office he seems to be taking the threat seriously.
https://www.ft.com/content/fb775a22-eaa5-44b4-8643-16c3f40a5d02

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
29 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yes. SWF and taxes (e.g. China reparations for Covid!) to fund new UK Strategic Assets and Capabilities agency, with jobs going to the North etc. as the UK goes onshore.

Rob
Rob
30 days ago

Smart move. I’m for less Government control – but not in the area of defence of our country. The world is changing fast and I’m personally pleased to see the UKG taking charge and building responses to current and future threats.

expat
expat
30 days ago

I know people get emotional over the traditional industries and how critical they are to defence. But I do wonder if we have true sovereign capability for the entire supply chain I would hazard a guess we don’t. These days plastics, adhesives(not for gluing on bolts), chemicals, software, electronics and microprocessors etc are equally as important as traditional industries.

dan
dan
30 days ago

Guess it’s better than the Chicoms buying it.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
30 days ago

Well if you want to reactor containment vessels, they have to be made somewhere.

dan
dan
30 days ago

Yet the British government still buys telecom gear from the Chinese. lol

Tams
Tams
30 days ago

Good.

Next Ultra Electronics to stop it being taken over by a nasty US private equity firm, then get Cobham (or what’s left of it) back from the same vultures.

John Hartley
John Hartley
29 days ago
Reply to  Tams

I agree.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
29 days ago
Reply to  Tams

ditto ARM.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
29 days ago
Reply to  Tams

…and whilst we are on the subject:

1) Put a %percentage limit (say 35%) on on share ownership for overseas entities/individuals in UK companies.
2) Heavily tax UK property owned overseas.
3) Ban sale of UK land to overseas entities/individuals.

That’s my threepennethworth.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
29 days ago

…sorry, 2) should read tax property in the UK that is owned overseas.

David Barry
David Barry
29 days ago
Reply to  Tams

100%

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
28 days ago
Reply to  Tams

Let’s hope no US private equity group or defense company start showing interest in the likes of Martin-Baker.

J brandon
J brandon
30 days ago

Forgemasters ? That’ll be Mettis Aerospace ( formally High Duty Alloys) in Redditch, the Chinese have been after it for years.

Kevin Dodd
Kevin Dodd
28 days ago

Great News. At last someone here values British capability and not giving it away to the competition

David Ashton
David Ashton
28 days ago

About time we protected some of our industries especially one’s that are involved in our defence. The world is getting a dangerous place again especially with China and Russia, we also need to ensure more industry is brought home from these areas. God help us if China ever kicked off and stopped exporting to the western world we would be on our knees within weeks. That’s what comes though of using cheap slave labour and abandoning our own industries.