Firth Rixson wins £600m order

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Firth Rixson, the Sheffield-based global leader in aerospace components, has won a £600m order for aeroplane engines and landing gear parts.

The 10-year deal with United Technologies Corporation is set to “considerably benefit” 11 of Firth Rixson’s 12 factories worldwide, including all six in the UK: four in Sheffield and two in Derbyshire, employing a total of 900 people. A spokeswoman said jobs would be created.

The agreement comes just three weeks after the company announced it was being sold to US metals giant Alcoa in a deal worth £1.7 billion.

David Mortimer, Firth Rixson chief executive, said the deal reflected their advancements in next generation aircraft manufacturing.

He added: “UTC demands high standards for quality, delivery, cost and performance and many of our sites have earned UTC Supplier Gold status. I am convinced this contributed to our ability to win new business. 

“We are delighted to have gained their customer confidence and secured Firth Rixson as a leading supplier in this globally competitive market.

“The contract also provides incentives for additional growth above and beyond the initial portfolio, which we will work towards obtaining, to further grow UTC as a critical customer.”

The new business will considerably benefit 11 of Firth Rixson’s 12 operating facilities worldwide, spanning North America, the UK, Hungary and China, he added.

Benoit Brossoit, vice president, UTC Operations, said UTC was ramping up production of its aircraft systems and engines and Firth Rixson would provide parts for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engines and UTC Aerospace Systems Boeing 787 and Airbus A320 programs.

He added: “This is an exciting time for UTC as we prepare to increase our capacity and establish UTC-wide agreements with key suppliers.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with Firth Rixson, a supplier with several UTC Supplier Gold sites. This had significant influence on their selection for new business.  Gold Suppliers perform better, which naturally makes them more competitive. This also enables them to meet our expectations for the highest quality standards while also meeting our cost and delivery requirements.”

Firth Rixson is the largest aero engine seamless ring supplier globally, it also makes forgings and speciality metals for the aerospace market as well as for the off-highway, mining and oil and gas sectors. It has customers in more than 40 countries, including all the major aero engine manufacturers.

* Last month Firth Rixson owners Oak Hill Capital Partners revealed it was selling the historic Sheffield company, which dates back to the 1800s, after seven years of ownership.

In the last 10 years the company has seen sales grow from £170 million to more than £600m today, according to chief financial officer Peter Bland.

At the time he said: “It’s excellent news for Firth Rixson, Alcoa, customers and employees. We have had remarkable growth over the last 10 years. We needed a strategic partner for the next stage of growth.”

The sale is set to go through after Government approval, set to be by the end of the year.