Two more global firms in Sheffield factory talks

Kevin Bennett, head of business growth at Creative Sheffield.
Kevin Bennett, head of business growth at Creative Sheffield.
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Two world class manufacturers on a par with Boeing and McLaren could be coming to Sheffield in the next few months, The Star can reveal.

Officials are in talks with firms that are “absolutely up there” in the advanced manufacturing world, according to Kevin Bennett, head of business growth at Creative Sheffield, the city council’s business arm.

He hoped one would sign at the end of summer and a second early next year.

In February, McLaren announced plans for a £50m carbon fibre chassis factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, on the outskirts of Sheffield, creating 200 jobs. Boeing then announced plans for a £20m plant, its first in Europe.

Mr Bennett, who was involved in both deals, said: “The two in the pipeline are similar names and one in particular is very much about being among those businesses.

“Success breeds success, and landing Boeing and McLaren have been very helpful in negotiations.”

Mr Bennett said they were also in talks with an overseas manufacturer of carbon fibre and machinery about setting up near McLaren.

“And they were having conversations with the supercar company and Boeing about them expanding in the region once their factories were open.

He added: “I don’t think I have ever seen this level of inward investment activity, quality and excitement.

“This is the start of a new era of creating jobs.

“The world leading research capability of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, as well as the manufacturing heritage and the skills and competence of the workforce are at the heart of it.”

Boeing is set to move production of actuators - motors which move wing flaps - from factories in the States and Asia into Rotherham.

But Mr Bennett said the “real prize” was supplying new aircraft programmes.

He added: “The long term development work offers major opportunities.

“We are asking them what next? That is as important as the next big names.

“But Sheffield has got to get the first bit right.