Forging ahead with biggest blacksmith

Pictured (l-r) following the buy-out at Independent Forgings and Alloys are John Longstaff (BHP Corporate Finance), Craig Syson and Andy McGuinness (IFA), Matthew Chenery (Barclays Corporate), Gareth Davies (IFA), Neil Thompson (Hill Dickinson), Martin Burnham (IFA), Kevin Davies (BHP Corporate Finance), David Forrest (BHP Corporate Finance)
Pictured (l-r) following the buy-out at Independent Forgings and Alloys are John Longstaff (BHP Corporate Finance), Craig Syson and Andy McGuinness (IFA), Matthew Chenery (Barclays Corporate), Gareth Davies (IFA), Neil Thompson (Hill Dickinson), Martin Burnham (IFA), Kevin Davies (BHP Corporate Finance), David Forrest (BHP Corporate Finance)
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Management is increasing its stake in a successful Sheffield forgings firm, which has grown dramatically since a buy-in ten years ago.

Andy McGuinness, Craig Syson and Gareth Davies have acquired a majority stake in Independent Forgings and Alloys for an undisclosed sum, described as “substantial,” by advisers.

Owlerton-based IFA was founded when Mr McGuinness and IFA’s chairman, Martin Burnham, acquired the open die forging division of Doncasters plc.

Since then, the Livesey Street firm, which lays claim to being the world’s biggest blacksmith, has invested more than £16 million in expanding its capabilities, boosted turnover from £2.6 million to £17 million and quadrupled the number of people it employs to 120.

The new buyout was arranged with the assistance of Sheffield-based BHP Corporate Finance and the Sheffield office of law firm Hill Dickinson, and backed by Barclays Corporate. It sees YFM Equity Partners dispose of its minority stake and Martin Burnham substantially reduce his shareholding, while retaining his position as chairman.

Managing director Andy McGuinness says the deal lays the foundation for further growth at IFA over the next few years.

“We have come out of our industry recession stronger, leaner and now – thanks to Barclays support and the great work of BHP Corporate Finance and Hill Dickinson in structuring this deal and making it happen – we can continue to go from strength to strength.”

David Forrest, supported by John Longstaff and Kevin Davies, from BHP Corporate Finance, acted as lead advisors, while Neil Thompson from Hill Dickinson, supported by Tim Littler and Mike Hall, provided legal advice.

Matthew Chenery of Barclays Corporate arranged financial backing for the deal.

John Longstaff said: “This transaction demonstrates that with a strong management team, appropriate structuring and thorough preparation, deals of this type can be executed.