UK - Major investment plan at iron foundry firm

Lesedauer: min

A Black Country iron and steel foundry business, now winning new work after recovering from the recession, is planning a major investment programme.

Managing director of family firm Joseph & Jesse Siddons, Andrew Siddons, said that the investment being planned at its two foundries at Howard Street in Hill Top, West Bromwich, would secure the jobs of the 90 people that are currently employed on the site.

“We are looking at investing in melting plant and equipment over the next 12 months,” said Mr Siddons, who is the fifth generation of his family to run the business.

The current production facilities have the capacity to produce 5,000 tonnes of castings annually and the investment that is being planned will both modernise production and increase productivity.

Joseph & Jesse Siddons has recovered to build its annual turnover back up to £7 million in the last couple of years after a tough time during the recession.

“We have been winning new business including picking up work from rivals who have closed.

“We are a long-established firm and very stable. While other people have had problems we are seen as a safe pair of hands,” explained Mr Siddons, who has worked for the business for 42 years.

The company dates back to 1846 and made its names in producing cast iron pots and pans and flat irons and exported them all over the world.

At its peak in the 1930sthe West Bromwich business employed more than 600.

In the 1950s pots and pans production ended in the face of growing competition from cooking utensils in other materials and imports.

Just one iron foundry was retained as the business concentrated on sub-contracting work and let out its excess property.

Joseph & Jesse Siddons today still has an industrial property letting division offering units of between 1,000 and 35,000 sq ft across the Midlands.

It opened a second foundry at its main site, where it has been located since 1876, in 1989.

Its main business today is in producing engineering castings and it it serves many different markets.

A key market is the waste water industry with Sulzer in Germany and Ireland, which it supplies with pump body castings, one of its main clients.

“We also specialise in diesel engine parts and water pump components and also supply commercial vehicle makers,” added Mr Siddons, whose son Alec also works for the business in purchasing and quality.

Sand castings are produced in a variety of grey iron, spheroidal graphite iron and steel grades.

It can produce them in batches of from one to hundreds,

The company has seen export sales fall to about 25 per cent in recent years and its main source of new customers is now coming from within the UK.

Joseph & Jesse Siddons also works closely with the sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, best known for the giant Angel of the North .

The company has produced many iron castings, mostly based on Gormley’s own body for his large scale works including 100 that are located at Crosby Beach in Lancashire as part of his Another Place installation.

Mr Siddons said that the company had worked with the sculptor over 15 years and had produced about 350 castings weighing up to 600kg for him in total.