Historic aerospace manufacturing firm snapped up by US group

A South Shields-based aerospace company, which was established in 1910, has been snapped up by US-based manufacturing group SPIROL, in a move which will boost its international presence and create new jobs for the region.

Ford Aerospace specialises in manufacturing high precision metal components and sub-assemblies for the aerospace, industrial and high-technology sectors, employing 76 people in the region.

The sale follows almost 30 years of collaboration between the two businesses, and family-run SPIROL is now aiming to invest significantly into Ford Aerospace and create jobs.

Established in 1948 by Herman Koehl, SPIROL has grown from a single manufacturing facility in the US to a global enterprise with locations in 12 countries across North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Chris Ford, managing director of Ford Aerospace, said: “Ford Aerospace is, and always has been, here for the people, especially our dedicated and skilled team, and it was important that any new Ford Aerospace owner share the values that have been at the heart of the company for over 100 years.

“Our two companies have a long history of working together, dating back to 1980 where SPIROL licensed a specialized manufacturing process from Ford Aerospace, which is still in use today. SPIROL respects Ford’s strong position in the UK market and our product manufacturing knowledge. SPIROL and Ford’s approach to our employees and our customers align wonderfully, and I am excited to see our strong business carry on as part of the successful SPIROL group.”

Ken Hagan, a division president at SPIROL, added: “SPIROL is an engineering, manufacturing and sales driven company, and as such we seek to grow and expand in our product space.

Where appropriate, this includes acquiring and holding exceptional companies which fit well with our overall business, global strategy and culture of excellence. We are excited to have Ford Aerospace join SPIROL and to be able to offer a more complete solution to our customers in Europe and beyond.

“We anticipate running Ford as a standalone business unit within the SPIROL group of companies. By combining the capabilities of both companies, our objective is to enhance our value-added offering to our customers both in technical expertise and products.

“We are now in the process of recruiting a new managing director to join the senior leadership team here in South Shields.”

Details of the advisers who worked on the deal were not disclosed.