Historic Black Country scales-maker Avery Berkel has been sold for the second time in seven years.

The Smethwick company, which dates back to 1670 and which is one of the most famous names in the West Midlands' industrial sector, has been taken over by US manufacturing group ITW (Indiana Tool Works) for an undisclosed sum.

It was sold by Providence, Rhode Island-based Avery Weigh-Tronix, which in turn acquired it from Marconi, the former GEC, for #102.5 million in 2000.

The sale of Avery Berkel, which makes retail weighing and food processing products, will enable Weigh-Tronix, which also owns the Salter brand, to concentrate on industrial weighing equipment.

The demerger affects about 300 Avery Berkel employees in the UK and a further 150 throughout throughout the world, all of whom have transferred to the new owner.

ITW is a $14 billion (#7 billion) a year business that operates 750 units in 49 countries employing about 55,000 people.

Avery Weigh-Tronix chief executive Jerry Bowe said: "The decision to sell our retail business was not easy, but it was in the best interests of both the retail and industrial parts of the company.

"This sale allows Avery Weigh-Tronix, which designs, manufactures, sells and services industrial scales, to better focus on its core customers.

"We can also continue to push into advanced industrial weighing technologies, software and solutions.

"For the divested company, which will continue to trade as Avery Berkel, a parent company like ITW will allow it to expand its reach in the rest of the world and continue to develop sophisticated retail weighing and food processing products for its current customer base."

The new Avery Berkel is led by John Watson, formerly the head of its UK and North American operations.

He said: "The acquisition brings even more prospects for Avery Berkel's growth. With the backing of a proven development-based owner like ITW, our product engineers can now concentrate on what they do best - designing innovative product ranges aimed at maximizing our customers' profitable fresh food businesses.

"With the separation of the two businesses, Avery Berkel has become a dedicated retail solutions company, focused solely on developing fresh food weighing systems, software and services for its core retail customers worldwide."

Avery Berkel is one of the best known brands in its market and sells to supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers and convenience stores in Europe and the US.

"Avery Weigh-Tronix can now really concentrate on its core strength, industrial weighing," Mr Bowe added.

Avery Berkel can trace its history back to 1670 when it was founded by Birmingham shopkeeper Charles de Grave.

It passed through several changes of ownership before acquiring the Avery name in 1813. By 1837 it had expanded to employ nearly 200 people at Digbeth and Hatton Garden in London.

In 1895 it acquired the business of Industrial Revolution legend James Watt & Co.

The last Avery family member of the business died in 1918 and in 1979 it was taken over by the late Arnold Weinstock's GEC conglomerate, which subsequently became the ill-fated Marconi, and was merged with Berkel four years later and sold to Weigh-Tronix in 2000.