Gardner buys out rival firm

NILALC100810F2 Ilkeston. Gardner Aerospace
NILALC100810F2 Ilkeston. Gardner Aerospace
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AN ILKESTON engineering firm, which axed 69 jobs last year, has bought a rival company out of administration.

Gardner Aerospace, which has its headquarters in Cotmanhay Road, finalised a deal to buy Worcestershire-based engineering firm Blade Tooling and Technology.

In August the Ilkeston company, which makes parts for Boeing aeroplanes, angered employees by slashing its workforce by a third – cutting 69 of its 240 positions.

It acquired the trade and certain assets of Blade Tooling and Technology from joint administrators Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG LLP for an undisclosed sum on Thursday January 20.

The business will now trade as Gardner Blade.

Blade specialised in the manufacture and supply of complex aerofoil tooling, ceramic cores and wax mouldings to the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industry.

A statement from Gardner said: “Blade has considerable technical capability, adds significant value to its customers, and has ambitious plans to grow and develop its business.

“Blade is a strategically adjacent diversification for Gardner.

“The directors of Gardner believe that the acquisition of Blade will strengthen a number of Gardner’s key commercial relationships, and that the exploitation of Gardner’s existing infrastructure, systems and network will significantly improve the performance of Blade.

“The transaction confirms Gardner’s role in the continued consolidation of the aerospace manufacturing sector in which it operates.”

Gardner is the UK’s largest independent supplier of metallic aerospace details and sub-assemblies, and is one of the largest in Europe.

As well as the Ilkeston branch it has six manufacturing sites in the UK and two in Poland. Customers include Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and BAE Systems

The firm blamed the decision to axe jobs on the economic downturn.

Devastated workers gave an angry reaction to the plans outside the factory after receiving letters about the redundancies last summer.