Over 70 jobs saved as Express acquires Burdon

Over 70 jobs have been saved following the acquisition of a North Yorkshire firm by Tyneside contract manufacturing company, Express Engineering

Nigel Davison, MD of Gateshead's Express Engineering for business
Nigel Davison, MD of Gateshead's Express Engineering for business

The North East firm stepped in to buy the business and assets of Burdon Limited, which went into administration yesterday morning, for an undisclosed sum.

The entire 76-strong workforce has now been transferred to Express, which has also acquired the manufacturing equipment at the Stokesley Industrial Estate factory.

This will be used to expand services and reduce lead times to existing Express customers. It is also hoped the Burdon customer base can be retained.

Likewise including within the deal is a virtually completed freehold, 25.000 sq. ft. factory, which will be finished to accommodate further expansion of the Stokesley operations, resulting in more skilled jobs.

Burdon Ltd. was established over 40 years ago and was most recently providing precision engineering services to the industrial, defence, automotive, aerospace and oil and gas industries - the latter two being key markets for Express Engineering.

The deal comes as Express is celebrating 40 years in business.

When added to the recent buy-out of Petrotec Components in Brazil, from joint venture partner Brastec Technologies, it increases its global workforce to over 375 - the majority of whom work at the company’s five Team Valley sites.

In its most recent financial results Express reported turnover of over £30m for the first time.

Managing director of the company Nigel Davison said: “We have enjoyed strong growth over recent years and we were looking for ways to increase capacity.

“Burdon operated in a very similar field and so we saw a great opportunity to accelerate our expansion, taking on good people with the right skills. We quickly reached agreement on a purchase which we see as a good deal for both businesses.

“It will help us to fulfil our exciting growth plans while securing jobs and key engineering skills, which could otherwise have been lost. I would like to thank all those involved in the negotiations – particularly the bank for an extremely swift and positive response - for their assistance in enabling a speedy agreement.”

Managing director at Burdon, Iain Oates said: “This is fantastic news for our people and our business which has some exciting new opportunities with new customers on the horizon.

“Unfortunately, an unexpectedly protracted refinancing process created a cash flow problem at Burdon which threatened to put all this at risk. Express stepping in means we can continue to develop these opportunities – particularly with aerospace and plant sector customers.”

Joint administrators, Hunter Kelly and Charles Young, of Ernst and Young, were advised by Walker Morris. Express’ advisors were pwc, Muckle LLP and Ward Hadaway. Funding for the acquisition was provided by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Andrew Hopper, relationship director for Lloyds Commercial Banking in the North East and North Cumbria, said: “The need for this level of flexibility and responsiveness was key to ensuring Express was able to complete the deal and it signifies our commitment to them in our role as their long-term partner for growth.”

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