100 jobs to go at Forgemasters Sheffield

Working on a casting at Forgemasters
Working on a casting at Forgemasters
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Forgemasters is cutting up to 100 jobs after posting a loss of almost £10million due to a ‘storm’ raging in the sector.

The Brightside company, which employs 700, is restructuring to create ‘a more streamlined operation that can operate in a tough economic environment’.

Forgemasters chief executive Graham Honeyman in his office

Forgemasters chief executive Graham Honeyman in his office

Bosses say a slump in the oil and gas sector, the slowing of the global economy and an international collapse in steel prices has hit the business, as well as high energy costs, green taxes and a strong pound hitting exports.

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Forgemasters, which traces its roots back to 1805, makes steel cylinders used as casings for the nuclear reactors in Trident submarines, as well as castings used to build defence equipment, nuclear power stations and oil and gas platforms.

The firm made a loss of £9.4m in the year to December 2014 – the first time since a management buy-out in 2005. Turnover is £70m.

Chief executive Graham Honeyman said the redundancies were set to be completed by the end of February and they would be spread across the company.

He added: “Business is very poor at the moment. It’s about winning orders anywhere in the world and there’s not enough work for all the forgings companies at the moment.”

And in response to rumours about financial support and Chinese investment, he added: “There is no money coming into the company from the government or the defence industry or anywhere else.”

Accounts for 2015 – due in March – were set to show a second ‘significant’ but smaller loss, he added.

After looking to ‘all sources of support’ – including customers, suppliers and a loan from their bank – they had enough funding to see the business through to the end of March 2017.

But the oil and gas sector was ‘of particular concern.’

Three years ago it was 40 per cent of business. Today orders have halted and the firm is finishing residual contracts.

The firm shed 50 jobs last year.

The news comes a day after Tata announced 1,050 redundancies centred on Port Talbot in South Wales.

In total, some 5,000 redundancies have been announced, and a further 1,700 jobs put at risk, since last summer, including 500 at Tata in Rotherham.

Forgemasters chairman Tony Pedder said: “The storm clouds which seem to gather periodically over the steel and steel-related sectors are once again evident, making trading challenging.”