Forgemasters nuclear loan

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd has been offered a Government loan of up to £36m to continue its drive into civil nuclear and steelworks plant production.

SFIL, which is a key supplier to the UK defence industry, has been offered the fully repayable loan as part of the Government’s second round of Regional Growth Fund allocations.

The loan would be used by SFIL to service the global civil nuclear renaissance and global nuclear refurbishment programmes and for enlarging its capacity to service steel processing markets.

The announcement was made by Nick Clegg as he visited the Brightside Lane site to see at first-hand how a high technology approach to manufacturing has completely revised the fortunes of this historic engineering giant, now responsible for ground-breaking contracts across all continents.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at SFIL, said: “We welcome Nick Clegg’s announcement, and once finalised and agreed, the Government loan will help us to install further plant and equipment required to expand our business.

“However, there is much work to be done to establish the actual amount of the loan and how many jobs it may create.

“This interest bearing loan is not for business continuity but for expansion into growing markets – this loan will be used for new plant and equipment enhancements for the forge and machine shops to expand the business.

“It will also provide additional training and further refinement of our manufacturing processes and firmly underpins the country’s place at the leading edge of engineering technology.

“The next stages from here are for Forgemasters’ board to put a further application to the Government, taking many details into account. This will need to be followed by a process of due diligence before any loan agreement is reached.”

SFIL is the only UK company carrying ASME certification to manufacture civil nuclear castings and forgings and is already providing many components to the civil nuclear industry, power generation markets and the defence industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and MP for Sheffield Hallam said: “Sheffield Forgemasters is a world beating company and an integral part of our city’s proud manufacturing heritage.

“I am delighted that the Coalition Government has been able to help SFIL expand its business into new products and markets.

“For too long, politicians have been in thrall to one Square Mile of the City of London at the expense of the rest of Britain.

“Funding like the Regional Growth Fund will start restoring the balance and give outstanding companies like Sheffield Forgemasters the help they deserve.”