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Acquisition opens up new markets for Sheffield powder metals firm

Published: 17th June 2009

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CAPTION: Seeing production: Left to right Ian Wilkins (Hallamshire Hardmetal Products), Mary Broadhead (SYIF), Keith Williams (UK Steel Enterprise), Patrick Abel (PKF) and David Lee (Co-op Bank).

Acquisition of a tool reclamation company promises to open up new European markets for Sheffield-based Hallamshire Hardmetal Products.

Headed up by former British Steel man Ian Wilkins following a management buy-in last year, Darnall-based Hallamshire Hardmetals has acquired Advanced Tooling Technology Ltd in a deal part-financed by £300,000 from UK Steel Enterprise and South Yorkshire Investment Fund alongside additional facilities from the Co-operative Bank.

“The purchase of ATT is a strategic move, it brings with it a network of agents and distribution in Europe from which Hallamshire Hardmetals can also benefit” explained Mr Wilkins.

Hallamshire Hardmetals specialises in manufacturing sintered tungsten carbide components to customers’ own designs and technical requirements. It has been part of the Sheffield industrial scene for the past 40 years with half of its output going into the oil industry. But its powder technology is also used in the medical sector with products such as disposable tweezer tips.

“ATT is Yorkshire-based and repairs all types of tooling including indexable carbide, so the companies compliment each other and it made a great deal of sense to add that facility to our group,” said Mr Wilkins.

He bought Hallamshire Hardmetal Products nine months ago on his return from years working in the USA securing 35 jobs in the process. Dealmaker Patrick Abel at accountants PKF introduced him to the company where one of the owners had died and the other partner was looking to sell. He brought together the original funding partners to whom Mr Wilkins returned for this acquisition.

Hallamshire Hardmetals turnover is £2.5million with the firm weathering the current market uncertainty well. The prevailing market conditions are certainly not deterring Mr Wilkins from planning expansion by acquisition and organic growth which could double that figure in five years.

Keith Williams, Regional Manager at UK Steel Enterprise, the investment subsidiary of Corus Group, commented, “Hallamshire Hardmetal Products has an excellent reputation in its markets and this acquisition should help create additional sales opportunities for both companies, strengthening this South Yorkshire based group .”

SYIF’s Investment Director Mary Broadhead said, ”We have bucked the trend twice, first by investing in a management buy-in and secondly by backing an acquisition in the depths of a recession. We are, however, confident that the experience and expertise of Ian Wilkins will see this business enjoy growth and prosperity and are pleased to have invested alongside UKSE.”

At the Co-operative Bank David Lee, Corporate Manager remarked, "After the success of the MBI last year, we were delighted to assist with the acquisition of ATT".

Patrick Abel added,” It has been a real pleasure working with Ian on this transaction.  He is clearly a seasoned businessman who was able to make critical decisions along the way to enable the process to go smoothly. I very much look forward to working with him on his planned future acquisitions."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).