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MP praise for Forgemasters turnaround

18 September 2008

THE Government's business secretary has congratulated Sheffield Forgemasters for a remarkable turnaround after last year's floods and its continued global contribution for British engineering.

The Rt. Hon John Hutton MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), made the comments while on a tour of the Brightside Lane company to recognise the progress made since the summer 2007 floods.

Forgemasters invested more than six months of time and £16m to recover from the extensive floods.

The tour was Mr Hutton's second visit to the global heavy engineering specialist following a visit last year to talk to company chief executive Dr Graham Honeyman and director Peter Birtles to discuss progress made by the company at the 64-acre site.

Mr Hutton said: "Forgemasters is a fantastic company and has recovered incredibly well from the devastating floods of last year.

"The recovery is even more remarkable when you consider that the company is now ideally placed to make an important contribution both nationally and internationally in areas such as civil engineering, nuclear power and defence."

The 200-year-old company partially resumed work just four days after suffering devastating damage in the flash flooding in the city which saw much of the site under six foot of water with furnaces extinguished and machines waterlogged.

More than 50 staff were initially trapped in the Brightside Lane HQ without power and communications however emergency services rescued employees in the early hours via helicopter and boat to leave 30 staff there overnight.

Mr Hutton added: "Despite the economic difficulties we are currently facing, the real economy here at Forgemasters is booming, with record order books, recognition in the form of industry awards and nearly 10 per cent of its workforce made up of apprentices.

"Sheffield should feel very proud of this company and the Government will continue to do everything it can to support them."

Dr Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "More than a year after the floods we are still indebted to the skill and commitment of our employees, without which we would not have been able to recover as we have.

"A little more than 15 months on we now have full order books stretching over the next two years.

"The company has an excellent relationship with the Government and we are grateful for its continuing support."