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British Industrial History

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William Cook and Sons

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Glasgow file and steel works, Sharrow vale, Sheffield; and at Glasgow

1885 Wm. Cook and Sons, of Glasgow and Sheffield, exhibited an improved coal tipper at the Glasgow Exhibition[1]

1888 Exhibited saws of different kinds, and an assortment of crucible steel castings at the Glasgow exhibition[2]

1902 William Cook and Sons (Sheffield) Ltd was incorporated as a private company.

1955 Placing of shares by William Cook and Sons (Sheffield), manufacturers of steel castings[3]

1956 became a public company

1982 name changed to William Cook & Sons (Sheffield) Plc

Between 1982 and 1986 turnover increased from £4.0 million to £10.4 million by means of organic growth.

By 1986 The company saw little further scope for increasing production internally so turned to growth by acquisition.

Between the end of 1986 and 1990 the following acquisitions were made:

1986 Acquired Catton and Co of Leeds[4] and Holbrook Precision Castings, O. H. Hi-Tec, Sheffield, Weir Fabrications, Barnsley (subsequently renamed Atlas Fabrications) and Jopling, Sunderland from Weir Group; name of the group became William Cook plc[5]

1988 Acquired Hi-Tec Integrity Castings

1989 Acquired the special castings company Robert Hyde and Son of Chesterfield and David Brown Foundries; sold the Atlas fabrication plant, which was making losses, and a Robert Hyde empty factory at Chesterfield[6]

1989 Acquired Neepsend Castings (Sheffield) Ltd, George Blair plc, and Blackett Hutton and Co Ltd of Guisborough.

1989 Won the Business Enterprise Award; name as "Business of the Year" for the company's rapid turn-around[7]

1990 Acquired Lloyds (Burton), maker of steel castings for valves, engineering etc, from Triplex which retained the tube spinning part of the business; Cooks would close the recently acquired Lake and Elliott Paramount foundry at Braintree as Lloyds could handle the high alloy, heat resistant coatings and fittings business then handled at the foundry [8]. Contracted to buy the assets of Armadale steelworks[9]

1991 Acquired Mech Cast of Doncaster, a subsidiary of MS International, which was a maker of high specification steel alloy castings[10]

1992 Decline in orders from defence and mining sectors

1997 In the face of takeover bid from Triplex, Cooks organised a highly leveraged management buyout with the help of Electra Fleming[11]

By 1999 finance house Electra Fleming owned 71 percent of the shares but Cook's performance was deteriorating[12]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1885/11/06
  2. The Engineer 1888/11/02
  3. The Times, Nov 04, 1955
  4. The Times, May 31, 1989
  5. The Times, October 29, 1986
  6. The Times, May 30, 1989
  7. The Times December 01, 1989
  8. The Times January 18, 1990
  9. The Times, August 31, 1990
  10. The Times, May 11, 1991
  11. The Times, December 01, 1997
  12. The Times , January 16, 1999
  • Competition Commission report 1990