The future of two Shropshire precision metal pressing firms has been secured by a takeover.
More than 50 jobs have been protected after Leonardt, based in Highley, near Bridgnorth, acquired Telford-based key ring-maker Berkeley & Co for an undisclosed sum.
Leonardt, which was established in 1856, produces metal corners for the diary and leather goods industries and provides sub contract metal finishing services to other manufacturers.
Its customers include the corporate promotional products market, diary manufacturer Charles Letts & Co and luxury leather goods producers Cartier and Dunhill.
Directors at Leonardt say Berkeley & Co uses similar finishing techniques, so the two companies fit together well.
Leonardt director Paul Meredith said: “The two companies use similar metal forming and finishing techniques, and in the corporate goods market share some customers, so there are strong synergies between the two companies, as well as opportunities.
“We have also known and worked closely with Berkeley for some time.
“Consolidating operations onto one site 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 to increase the export market for Berkeley products.”
Leonardt also produces pocket clips, plated with precious metal, for pen manufacturers, including Parker. At present the company exports more than 35 per cent of its production to Europe, North America and the Far East.
Berkeley produces split rings for key rings, 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. The company was founded in the early 1900s.
The four-strong Leonardt management team, which acquired the business in a management buy out (MBO) in 2006, plan to combine Berkeley’s manufacturing capabilities with its own, moving all production to its Highley site. Leonardt presently employs 53 people.
The latest deal was backed by Black Country-based law firm George Green LLP and CK Chartered Accountants, which advised Leonardt on the deal, while financing was supplied by Lombard, the asset finance provider.
Philip Round, an associate in George Green’s Corporate Department, based in the firm’s Cradley Heath office, said the firms will become stronger for operating out of one site. 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. Deals such as this will continue to take place, as they make sense for all parties involved.”