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Sheffield Forgemasters
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UK Defence Ministry Buying Sheffield Forgemasters

Aug. 5, 2021
The steel casting and forging manufacturer – a critical supplier to defense programs and the energy sector – will be taken over and wholly owned, anticipating a recapitalization and capital investment.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence is taking over a manufacture of large-scale steel castings and forgings that is a critical supplier to defense programs, as well as the nuclear power industry, in order to secure a “substantial recapitalization” of the plant and equipment over the next 10 years. Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd., operating in Sheffield, England, for more than 200 years, will be absorbed by MoD for a total value of £2.56 million ($3.7 million.) The company explained the transaction is supported by major stockholders, who have agreed to sell their shares to MoD.

The SFIL foundry pours up to 10,000-metric tons/year foundry of carbon or stainless steel for products with maximum dimensions of 16×7.6×4.6 meters. It is able to produce castings weighing up to 350 metric tons, and engineering, patternmaking, ultrasonic testing, and heat-treatment of finished products are done on site.

SFIL’s open-die forgings, including machine housings, heavy axles, nuclear reactor components, and other large-dimension parts, weigh up to 275 metric tons.

The business is a critical supplier of structural components to the U.K.’s Trident nuclear submarine program – an example of SFIL’s important to the nation’s manufacturing and defense sector. In 2015, the MoD reportedly blocked a Chinese state-owned business from acquiring Sheffield Forgemasters.

In its announcement, Sheffield Forgemasters explained the transaction is structured to include up to £400 million ($557 million) of new capital investments during the next 10 years, for “defense-critical assets.” Among these, SFIL listed plans for a new heavy forging line, a flood alleviation scheme, major machine tool replacements, and a site-wide HV upgrade.

These investments are expected to retain and create high-skill manufacturing jobs in the Sheffield City region.

While MoD will gain 100% ownership of SFIL, there will be no change to the corporate structure nor its subsidiary businesses, and current executive and senior management will remain in place. The U.K. government will appoint two more non-executive directors to the board of SFIL.

Notably, while securing defense output is the new owner’s priority, SFIL will continue to operate in commercial markets with its existing equipment, and will seek new opportunities, including in the off-shore wind and civil nuclear markets.