Two Shropshire manufacturing companies have beaten financial pressures in a takeover which will safeguard jobs for more than 50 workers across the industry.
Metal pressing and finishing firm Leonardt, based near Bridgnorth, acquired Telford-based Berkeley & Co and plans to merge the two manufacturing operations.
The company – which was established in 1856 and exports more than 35 per cent of its production to Europe, North America and the Far East – has worked with Berkeley for some time now and already shares some customers in the corporate goods market.
The new deal will be seeing all of the production moved to the company’s main Highley site between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster to increase practicability and reduce costs.
Leonardt director Paul Meredith said the close ties and similar metal forming and finishing techniques used by the two manufacturers create strong synergies which will help pave the way for even more financial opportunities in the near future.
He added: “Consolidating operations to one side saves operating costs, securing the future of both businesses and giving us a solid foundation for growth once the economic situation improves.
“We see a real opportunity here to increase the export market for Berkeley products.”
Leonardt was backed up in the deal by professional Black Country-based law firm George Green and CK Chartered Accountants, which had both advised the company when it first acquired Berkeley in a management buyout in 2006.
Asset finance provider Lombard supplied the financial support for the deal, while stressing the importance in the way companies decide to approach and manage their working capital in today’s crippling economic climate.
Ian Littleford, relationship manager at Lombard Business Finance, said: “Through using asset finance to support the purchase of the company asset base, this protects their working capital to support the ongoing operation of the businesses, whilst providing funds to support the transaction.”
Leonardt produces metal corners for the diary and leather goods industries and provides sub contract metal finishing services to other manufacturers.
Customers include both the corporate promotional products market as well as the household name diary manufacturers such as Charles Letts, Cartier and Dunhill.
Berkeley, which was founded in the early 1900s, similarly produces products which are predominantly for use in the corporate gifts and promotional goods market, as well as metal and plastic buckles for leather goods, clothing, fashion and pet product manufacturers.
Philip Round, an associate in George Green’s corporate department, acted for Leonardt on all the legal aspects of the deal.
He said: “This is a good example of a corporate deal where the owners of both businesses recognised that one larger business operating on one site is much better placed to survive and then thrive in the present economic circumstances.”