How famous Yorkshire firm Sheffield Forgemasters will stay at forefront of innovation - Peter Ahye

For the last two years, we have been working closely with the board and senior management team at Sheffield Forgemasters to secure a future that best suited the business, its employees, the steel sector and its prominence in the Yorkshire region, the UK and the globe.

Peter Ahye, CEO of Hexagon Consultants Limited

No mean feat.

At the end of July a deal was concluded, which will see the Ministry of Defence (MoD) acquire the business for a total consideration of £2.56m and inject £400m into this unique and critical defence supplier over the next ten years.

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It was a pretty momentous transaction. And one that the whole Hexagon team have been proud and privileged to be involved with from the outset.

Coming into a business which had faced a number of difficulties, it was a great opportunity to deploy our model of working closely with the team to advise but crucially get the key activities completed on a very ambitious programme which was uncharted at the outset. Alongside the Sheffield Forgemasters team, and in conjunction with other advisers at the appropriate stages, we helped to devise a plan and bring clarity.

It was one of the most complex multi-stakeholder deals to be involved with, liaising with government departments throughout. Sheffield Forgemasters is steeped in history for the Yorkshire region and this is a globally significant deal which positions it as one of the most resilient and best invested suppliers in its sector.

It’s also an exciting time for the business as it paves the way for job retention and creation, alongside investment in state-of-the-art equipment which keeps the business right at the forefront of innovation.

So, what does this signal for the marketplace? The steel sector, in my view, continues to have fundamental challenges which are still not being adequately addressed by management teams and government. While the sector plays an important part in the history of our country’s economy, it is also undergoing major structural change and uncertainty.

Navigating this in the current climate requires a vast amount of knowledge, specialist advice and crucially the ability to execute those plans. And with the important focus of the environmental agenda in the mix too, it takes creative and experienced minds who have been successful in other industries – combined with some of the steel industry experts – to create business models which have a viable future.

I have met enough people now in the sector to know this can be done but they need support.

Everything that the Sheffield Forgemasters team were able to demonstrate showcased the firm’s world-leading and unique capabilities. The business, under new management back in mid 2018, created a long-term plan and has a solid programme of activity, making it stand out as a fantastic proposition.

Stephen Hammell, CFO at Sheffield Forgemasters, was one of the team we consistently liaised with throughout the process. He told me this was a significant milestone in the history of the business, adding: “It required trusted, strategic hands-on delivery support at every stage. Hexagon’s knowledge, ability to hit strict deadlines and close working relationships with our people were invaluable.”

While the past few years have been worrying for many sectors, we’re seeing resilience across all of our client base. I don’t see the activity slowing down anytime soon and I am pleased to see business activity around Yorkshire and beyond taking shape.

We are lucky to live and work within a standout region, which also has prominence across the country and the globe. I wish the Sheffield Forgemasters team all the best under their new ownership and look forward to seeing what the future holds for so many sectors with a Yorkshire base.

By Peter Ahye, CEO of Hexagon Consultants Limited

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