Firth Rixson in £1.7bn takeover

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Firth Rixson, the Sheffield-based global leader in aerospace components, is being sold in a deal worth £1.7 billion.

Metals giant Alcoa is buying the historic Sheffield company, which dates back to the 1800s, from US private equity house Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Firth Rixson employs 2,400 people across 12 facilities worldwide, including four in Sheffield and two in Derbyshire at Darley Dale and Glossop, employing 900 people in total.

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.

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.

“This investment will ensure the business will continue to grow for the next few years.

“One of the major attractions was the management team and the extremely strong and talented workforce – that team will stay in place.”

Acquired by Oak Hill Partners in 2007, the firm had invested heavily, Mr Bland said. A £35m investment was virtually doubling the footprint of the Meadowhall site.

The firm is renowned for being the world’s largest ring manufacturer and is a world leader in aerospace seamless rings and aero-engine discs.

Customers include all the major aero engine manufacturers.

An Alcoa spokesman said they expected sales to grow by 12 per cent by 2019 - double the rate of the overall aerospace component market. No job losses were predicted, he added.

Alcoa is a lightweight metals and mining company that is expanding its aerospace operations.

Chairman Klaus Kleinfeld said: “The acquisition of Firth Rixson is a major milestone in Alcoa’s transformation.”

The deal is set to complete by the end of the year.