HTC Wolffkran

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You ask if the takeover of tower crane company HTC by Wolffkran is good for Sheffield.

As one with a lifelong interest in Sheffield industry can I give it a definite maybe?

German manufacturers and engineers tend to be steady, like Sheffielders, in for the long term, not lusting after a fast buck.

LUK’s ownership of Laycock’s, Haniel’s of Carr’s Stainless, Braun Medical at Chapletown (though they shut Skidmore’s), have all been generally positive.

Other foreign ownership of our firms range from the ‘jury out’ of Tata Steel, and Alcoa takeover of Firth Rixson, to the disaster of Outokumpu’s buy-out of the Shepcote Lane and Stocksbridge stainless strip mills (both shut down to help feed their mills in Finland.

When they tried to do the same with a mill in Baltimore, President Bush came down on them like a ton of bricks, and they had to keep it open.

It is significant that the resurgent steel and engineering firms over the last 10 years or so, with plans to expand, barring problems in the oil and gas industries, and with the UK’s pathetic energy policy, are all 100 per cent Sheffield- and Rotherham-owned: AES, Independent Forge & Alloy, Gripple, Swann Morton, Sheffield Forgemasters, Special Steels, Abbey Forge, among others.

Don Alexander

Knab Road, S7