Sheffield cutting firms create a world beater   

Matthew Chenery of Barclays, with Mathew Grey of OSL Cutting Technologies
Matthew Chenery of Barclays, with Mathew Grey of OSL Cutting Technologies

A Sheffield-based cutting tool group has acquired a UK competitor to create one of the largest in the world in its market.

OSL Cutting Technologies snapped up Universal Drilling and Cutting Equipment, creating the biggest high-speed steel cutting tool manufacturer in the UK, bosses say.

Mathew Grey, group managing director said, “It puts us on par with the big worldwide manufacturers that we compete with. Universal has a fantastic reputation, nationally and internationally, and will allow us to grow our presence into a variety of markets”.

OSL Cutting Technologies was founded in 2015 and forms part of the wider OSL Group whose executive chairman is Mathew Grey’s father, David.

It makes industrial hole cutting tools and includes a family of brands with a history dating back to the 1800’s. They include Rotabroach, GJ Halls, Powerbor and Taylor & Jones. More than 60 per cent of business is export.

Mathew added: “We firmly believe that Sheffield is extremely well placed to compete globally as a manufacturing city. We have a logistical advantage over Asia and North America when servicing the European market.

“Our history as a manufacturing city and specifically within cutting tools gives us access to a market skill set and a reputation that is difficult to beat. More recently the city is supporting investment into a digital landscape that will help us compete in an increasingly digitally oriented industry”.

Michael Bryan, founder and managing director of Sheffield-based Universal feels that the new business is a great fit. “Having built the business since I was 24, I wanted to ensure that it goes to a good home. My ideal fit was a Sheffield group that shares my passion and belief in British manufacturing. I’m excited to take the business forward.”

The deal had support from the Barclays Northern Powerhouse Fund. 

The £500m Northern Powerhouse Growth Fund was established to inject investment into businesses across the north of England and is intended for SMEs across the Northern Powerhouse region, including: established businesses with ambitious growth plans, start-ups with high growth potential, companies with early-stage equity funding and businesses focusing on innovation, R&D and technology.

Matthew Chenery, Barclays relationship director put together the funding package, said: “OSL is a great example of a thriving business that is expanding for the future and contributing to the local economy. The new funding from our Northern Powerhouse fund will enable the company to reach new markets, increase overseas trade and we’re delighted to be able to support OSL with their growth ambitions.”

The OSL Group employs more than 200 people and turnover is expected to exceed £30million for 2019.