A Northumberland fishing gear maker whose products have earned the seal of approval from Prince William and numerous other royals, has been sold to a global fishing tackle provider.
The Alnwick-based Hardy & Greys, and its subsidiary Hardy Advanced Composites, have been bought by Pure Fishing, Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
The business, which employs around 100 people, enjoyed some welcome publicity recently when the Duke of Cambridge was spotted out with his brother, wearing one of its caps.
Throughout its 140 year history, it has also supplied fishing equipment to royals – including to the Prince of Wales, whom it provided with vintage reels worth up to £30,000
“Hardy & Greys has found a buyer who shares the company’s vision to develop its strong operations not just in the UK, continental Europe and North America but around the globe which is very good news,” said deputy chairman of the company Richard Maudslay.
“Pure Fishing recognises the importance of Hardy’s Alnwick heritage and the skills and expertise of the Alnwick-based employees.”
Berwick Upon Tweed MP Alan Beith also welcomed the sale, saying: “They are a world famous and high quality brand and I am hopeful that having a major US company as a buyer will help to maintain jobs in Alnwick and add to the ongoing success off the company’s excellent products.”
Established in 1872, the business has always had its home in Alnwick, but has created a reputation that has brought it world renown.
It was acquired by the Harris & Sheldon Group Limited from the Hardy family in 1967, and, as well as acquiring several brands itself, went on to set up subsidiaries in Germany and the USA, which are now key markets.
The company has been at the forefront of the fishing tackle market since being awarded its first patent in 1880, and it is known for developing the first carbon fibre fishing rod.
Thanks to work with researchers at Cambridge University and 3M, it has also created rods made from the new SINTRIX carbon fibre material, recognised as the finest in the world. Hardy Advanced Composites Ltd, meanwhile, supplies advanced composite blanks for Hardy fishing rods and custom-made composite tubes for a variety of customers in the defence, medical, sporting and consumer product markets.
Corporate finance specialists at Grant Thornton in Newcastle and Birmingham and lawyers from Ward Hadaway in Newcastle advised on the sale of the businesses.
Zara Lane, who leads Grant Thornton’s Newcastle Corporate Finance offering, said: “This latest deal highlights an increasing trend for overseas buyers keen to acquire strong British brands.’’
Katherine Hay-Heddle, partner in the Corporate Finance team at Ward Hadaway, said: "Hardy & Greys is a truly iconic name in the world of fishing as well as a long-standing client of Ward Hadaway so it was important for us to be able to secure a successful sale of the business.”