Adams is set for new era after sale to rival

SPECIALIST equipment manufacturer Adams of York has been sold in a multi-million pound deal.

The 120-year-old company, which supplies treatment equipment to the water and sewage industries, has been sold to competitor Ham Baker for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was triggered after Richard Wood, chairman and sole shareholder of Adams of York, decided to sell his interests in the Adams Group which he has held for more than 18 years. Ham Baker, based in Stoke, is now merging its operations nationally with Adams Hydraulics, the operational division of Adams of York.

New managing director of Adams Hydraulics, Stewart Bailie, who has been appointed by Ham Baker, said: "Both Ham Baker and Adams Hydraulics have a strong presence in the industry with many of the world's largest water and wastewater companies among our customers.

"Although Ham Baker has grown organically, we also have a strong tradition of driving the business forward through mergers and acquisitions. The latest, Adams Hydraulics, is a natural fit due to its vast experience and we look forward to working with its team."

Adams Hydraulics, founded in 1885 and incorporated in 1903, was acquired by Foss Development Group in 1990.

Well-known York businessman Mr Wood was head of the Foss Development Group, which transferred it to a purpose-built manufacturing and assembly facility in Clifton Moor, York, the following year. He gradually bought out the shareholders.

The company, which has a 17m turnover and pre-tax profits of 650,000, has more than 100 staff, an engineering office in Wath-upon-Dearne and a glass reinforced plastics (GRP) manufacturing unit in Scunthorpe. It will continue to operate from its Yorkshire base after the acquisition.

The business, which operates almost entirely within the UK, designs and manufactures equipment including penstocks, distributors and scrapers, for the water and sewage industries.

It supplies all the water authority plcs in the UK including Yorkshire, Northumbrian, Scottish and Thames.

Ham Baker, which has UK bases in Stoke and Manchester, also has a presence in The Middle East and the US and a similar product range. Its customers include Yorkshire Water.

Corporate finance partner at JWPCreers, Tony Farmer, said: "This significant sale is good news for York as it protects skilled manufacturing jobs.

"Both Adams Hydraulics and Ham Baker are highly regarded in their field. The sale helps Ham Baker by giving it access to vital facilities in the north, an experienced workforce, the specialised GRP division and in-house design facility which will be of substantial benefit as it continues to grow."

Mr Wood was advised in the sale by York-based accountants and business advisers JWPCreers, and Leeds lawyers Blacks. He is to continue with his other business and charitable interests in the York area.

COMPANY LOYAL TO CITY

Founded in 1885, Adams Hydraulics is one of York's oldest manufacturing firms.

The company was incorporated in 1903 and acquired in 1990 by Foss Development Group.

The firm moved to a purpose-built manufacturing and assembly facility in Clifton Moor, York, from its former base at Peasholme Green in York in 1991.

In 1994 the company's turnover hit a low of 2.7m and it employed just 60 staff. But by 1998 it had 100 employees and its turnover had reached 7m as new European directives demanded increased improvements in water quality and sewage processes from water companies.

Now the company has a 17m turnover with pre-tax profits of 650,000. It employs more than 100 staff and has an engineering office in Wath-upon-Dearne and a glass reinforced plastics (GRP) manufacturing unit in Scunthorpe.

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