Top 50 Manufacturers: Firth Rixson soars

Pratt and Whitney Pure Power engines which will include parts made by Firth Rixson.
Pratt and Whitney Pure Power engines which will include parts made by Firth Rixson.
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Aerospace component specialist Firth Rixson is the most profitable manufacturer in Sheffield - and its fortunes are continuing to soar.

The Sheffield company made £18.6m pre-tax profit in the year to the end of September 2013, the latest date for which accounts are available.

Its top city performance was enough to put it fifth in the overall profits table for all manufacturers in the region.

The company’s value was recognised when in June it was snapped up for £1.7bn by American mining and aluminium giant Alcoa.

Three weeks later Firth Rixson announced it had won a £600m order for engine and landing gear parts from US-based United Technologies. It said the Sheffield firm’s parts would be used in Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engines and Boeing 787 and Airbus A320 programmes.

Days later it signed a £117m deal to supply French engine company Snecma with die forged and seamless ring components.

Bosses said the deals were set to “considerably benefit” 11 of its 12 factories worldwide, including all six in the UK - four in Sheffield and two in Derbyshire - which employ 900 people.

CPL Industries Holdings was a close second in the Sheffield pre-tax profits stakes. The smokeless fuels specialist, based at Westthorpe Fields Road, Killamarsh, made £15.2m.

CPL has been making coal since the 1940s and is the UK’s largest coal merchant and wholesaler, selling to around 65,000 end users, and 7,000 retailers.

It makes more than 1m million deliveries to 100,000 customer locations a year, via 30 depots and a 120-truck fleet. It also exports more than 60,000 tonnes a year to France, Germany and Ireland.

It has also grown to encompass industries from charcoal and activated carbon, to gardening and renewable energy.

William Cook Holdings made £14.2m to clinch third place on the back of £83.6m turnover. It employs 816 people at Parkway Avenue and Halfway in Sheffield as well as factories in Leeds and County Durham.

Special Steel Co Ltd made a respectable £5m - especially with 280 employees - making it the fourth most profitable manufacturer in Sheffield.

The company is based at Bacon Lane, Attercliffe. It was hailed as Britain’s fastest-growing privately-owned company for two years running. Established by Bennett Beardshaw in 1925, grandson Alan Beardshaw is now chairman and a fourth generation are involved in the business.