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UK - Metals processing future for former heavy castings foundry that started life as munitions factory

Acetech Metals buys up 20-acre site alongside key client British Steel

Lesedauer: min

One of the largest specialist metals processing facilities in the North of England is set to emerge from the site of a collapsed heavy castings business.

Acetech Metals has swooped for the former Bonds site in Scunthorpe after securing a £3.25 million funding package.

Currently based on the Humber Bank at Barrow Haven, it is taking on the 20 acre Dawes Lane site beside key client British Steel - having started life as a munitions factory.

It will accelerate its provision of recycled metals for steelmakers and aluminium smelters, forecasting a doubling of the existing 130,000 tonnes of CO2 it saves the huge foundation industry in the next two years. It will take the 42-strong team to 50 in the medium term.

Jonathan Wells, chairman of Acetech, said: “The acquisition of the major new premises in Scunthorpe represents an important step for the business. We are excited about the future and look forward to continuing to deliver market leading services, whilst upholding the highest standards in health and safety and increasing our already substantial contribution to decarbonising the steel and aluminium production industries.”

Innovation through technical expertise and resources has put the business alongside blue chip operators.

ThinCats, an alternative lender to mid-sized SMEs, has provided the backing to the 23-year-old firm, serving the domestic market as well as Europe and beyond. Demolition and decommissioning provides feedstock, so too ship and vessel recycling.

It was tasked with the bloom and billet mill site at Scunthorpe, and prides itself on an impressive fleet of plant equipment and machinery - including two of the world’s biggest hammers - and an expert team.

As reported, administrators were called into Bonds two years ago, with 77 jobs lost and more at two further sites in Durham and Cumbria. A producer of high-integrity steel and high-chrome iron castings for industrial uses, it closed completely in early 2020, hitting the market just prior to the Covid pandemic sweeping the UK.

The site features 180,000 sq ft of buildings, developed since 1917 as World War One raged.


After the munitions years the foundry continued to trade as Firth Brown, Firth Rixon and Bradken, and was acquired in 2016 by Bondshold.

Mr Wells, who was the founder and chief executive of Lincolnshire construction specialist Rand Group, added: “We are delighted to have found a like-minded funding partner in ThinCats, who have supported our vision for the growth of the business.”

Leading on the deal for ThinCats was Ben Kimball, director of regional business development. He said: “We are keen to support ambitious businesses like Acetech. The knowledge and experience within their team, combined with their impressive track record in providing innovative, safe and environmentally sustainable solutions, will I am sure see Acetech continue to lead the sector in terms of service delivery and innovation.”

Thincats was advised by Pierce Corporate Finance with legal support provided by Clarion Solicitors.

Acetech was advised by Dan Hunt of Cottingham-based Simple Commercial Finance and legals were provided by Lupton Fawcett.

Mr Hunt said: “We are very excited to support Acetech in its next phase of growth and it was fantastic to work alongside the team on this transaction. With the purchase of the new site, the business is in an excellent position to continue growing its specialist services. We thank Ben and the team at ThinCats for their support in delivering the funding package.”