Liberty acquires automotive supplier from administrator

Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group has acquired a top UK manufacturer of cast aluminium engine and vehicle components in a rescue deal that helps save the jobs of around 550 automotive workers.

The Group announced on 20 July that is has bought the trade and assets of Amtek Aluminium Castings (Witham) and King Automotive Systems (Amtek UK) for an undisclosed sum from administrators PwC.

Amtek UK, which is a Tier 1 supplier to major vehicle manufacturers, has two plants in the West Midlands and one at Witham in Essex with a total of about 550 employees.

The business manufactures aluminium die castings and undertakes a range of complex processes including machining, assembly and testing of parts used in engines and powertrain components. Almost all of its products go directly to leading vehicle manufacturers in the UK and EU.

Though it had a strong order book and a market-leading position, Amtek UK struggled under the weight of debt and cash flow difficulties.

This deal strengthens Liberty’s position at the forefront of the British automotive sector as a Tier 1 supplier to virtually all of the major car manufacturers and gives it capacity to supply a wide spectrum of aluminium and steel parts.

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the Liberty House Group said, ‘Despite current challenges, this operation is a valuable asset and a vital part of the UK and EU automotive supply chain. We are very pleased to use our resources and extensive experience in the automotive sector to rescue this enterprise and enable it to recover and reach its true potential. We greatly value the specialist skills of the workforce and we will be working closely with them and with key customers to get the business back on a sound footing.’

Amtek UK comprises a 15,000-square metre facility employing 260 people at Witham and a 30,000-square metre, 60-worker, plant at Kidderminster, both making aluminium die castings, as well as a 11,500-square metre factory at Coventry employing 230, which processes aluminium and iron components for engines and transmissions. Kidderminster contains a foundry supplying materials to Witham and Coventry.

During the past three years, the business has benefited from a multi-million-pound investment programme in new equipment, including an advanced casting facility at Kidderminster and enhanced machining capacity at Coventry.

Liberty sees Amtek’s product range as complementing its other automotive engineering plants in the West Midlands, its Speciality Steels business in Yorkshire, which also supplies the sector, and its aluminium smelting operation in Scotland. The Group is currently developing a major alloy wheel manufacturing plant next to its primary aluminium smelter in Fort William, which will supply around 2m wheels a year to UK vehicle manufacturers.

The business, which will in future be known as Liberty Aluminium Technologies will form part of Liberty’s growing network of metal manufacture and engineering businesses, linked to its GREENMETAL strategy for integrated and environmentally sustainable production.