Sheffield Forgemasters exchange landmark deal with Indian engineering giant

A unique £30m knowledge transfer package between UK-based Sheffield Forgemasters and India's largest power equipment maker, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), has been agreed in a landmark deal.

The ten-year partnership, to develop power generation forgings on the sub-continent, will see state-run BHEL buy specialist technology and unparalleled engineering knowledge from the historic Sheffield-based manufacturer.

The technology transfer will enable Sheffield Forgemasters to establish a strong foothold in central Asia, helping to protect future Forgemasters' markets in the sub-continent and serving India's rapidly growing domestic market for turbine and power generation products.

An official launch of the trade agreement, which pledges future training provision in specialist cast and forged steel production, delivered by the world's only independently owned forgemaster, was marked by a visit to Sheffield from Indian Government representatives and BHEL management.

The Honourable Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and B. S. Meena, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industries, were accompanied by BHEL chairman and managing director, Shri B.P. Rao and Consul General of India for Birmingham, C. Gururaj Rao.

As well as exchanging the official agreement, the guests were taken on a tour of the 200-year-old company's plant.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "This arrangement with our colleagues from BHEL is a great step forward and reinforces an already strong trading partnership between Forgemasters and India.

"We are delighted to welcome Mr Deshmukh, Mr Meena, Mr Rao and Mr Rao to Sheffield to mark the official start of the trade agreement. BHEL is a hugely well-respected company and this cross continental partnership is a landmark development in trade terms between Britain and India.

"The deal will see us help build new steel making and forging facilities to manufacture forgings for power generation projects servicing India's domestic market. The Indian power generation market provides a unique opening for us. It is all about extending our reach and benefiting from sharing our knowledge.

"This is also an important business development deal which will deepen our relationship with BHEL. Funds will be generated from a technology transfer fee and also royalties of sales of these new products, which will be ploughed back into Forgemasters' ongoing research and development programme here in the UK."

Shri B.P. Rao, chairman and managing director of BHEL, echoed similar feelings, saying: "We are delighted to be working with Sheffield Forgemasters on this exciting project and the agreement will prove vital in supporting the power generation equipment manufacturing strategies of BHEL.

"Forgemasters is a world renowned company and we have always admired the high standard of work they do. We are all looking forward to initiating what I'm sure will be a wonderful project for both companies."

Over the next decade, it is anticipated the agreement between Forgemasters and BHEL will provide crucial business links and trade opportunities.

BHEL, which boasts a robust order book of £4.5bn, is expected to register 30 per cent growth in the next three years.

The company, which has a turnover of £4bn, currently manufactures equipment for power plants at the Haridwar plant in Uttarakhand.