The Duke of York recognises Sheffield engineering excellence
18 February 2009
HRH The Duke of York, the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, made a special visit to Sheffield Forgemasters to recognise the company's success in international trade and its future investment programme.
Prince Andrew, accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, David Moody, met with directors to discuss Forgemasters' dynamic global business presence and multi-million pound expansion plans.
His Royal Highness then toured the impressive 64-acre site on Brightside Lane to see the state-of-the-art production processes which keep Forgemasters at the forefront of global engineering for the power generation and offshore industries.
Graham Honeyman, chief executive, said: "The Duke of York has a particular interest in how Sheffield Forgemasters continues to trade strongly in the current economic climate and openly recognised our drive to continue embracing new markets, such as the civil nuclear market, which is under-supplied on an international level.
"Prince Andrew's tour of the site comes just three months after a visit by Prince Charles and we are delighted that the Royal family takes such a personal interest in the fortunes of this company."
In his role as the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, Prince Andrew spoke to apprentices and management throughout the tour to gain an in-depth understanding of the company's business strategy and turnaround following a management buyout in 2005.
Graham added: "Forgemasters is an incredibly important company not just for the local economy, but for the country as a whole. It is the only British-owned steel company of this scale left, which is very saddening, but also demonstrates the continuing strength of our industrial heritage.
"The company plays a key supply role for specialist products for the British defence programme, including the manufacture of specialist forgings and castings for the British and US navies.
"His Highness realises the strategic importance of this marketplace for the nation and also sees the potential for Forgemasters' future growth into global civil nuclear and power generation markets, which demand the very largest forgings in the world and the guarantees that a company with Forgemasters' manufacturing history can provide."
The company is currently looking at funding streams for a 15,000 tonne open-die forging press which would enable it to produce 100 per cent of the forgings required for the UK's own nuclear power programme and also tap into global demand for these large components.