Chinese firms mull bid for UK engineers Doncasters

Updated: 2016-10-20 00:14

By Angus McNeice in London(

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Two Chinese industrial groups are considering bidding for Doncasters, one of the oldest engineering manufacturers in Britain, media reports said.

A person involved in the proposed sale who requested anonymity would not confirm the names of the interested bidders, but said Doncasters was attracting interest from Asia and the US.

Sky News and City A.M. newspaper identified the potential Chinese bidders as the Yinyi Group of Ningbo and Impro of Hong Kong.

The auction for Doncasters is being handled by Goldman Sachs. The firm is expected to go for between 1 billion and 1.5 billion pounds, though the Chinese firms are yet to lodge formal offers.

Yinyi Group, which deals in real estate, construction and industrial equipment, and precision machining specialist Impro would be going head-to-head with a handful of other interest parties thought to include three American investment firms: Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Blackstone; and Carlyle.

The Chinese interest may further fuel debate in the UK over foreign ownership of industrial projects, following the signing of an 18 billion pound contract with France and China for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said future deals involving foreign ownership would be subject to scrutiny.

Doncasters is, however, already in foreign hands, as Dubai International Capital (DIC), the country's sovereign wealth fund, acquired the company in 2006 for 700 million pounds.

DIC then put the 238-year-old manufacturer up for auction in April this year as part of the winding down of the private investment fund.

Doncasters is a leading manufacturer of specialized, high tolerance metal components for application in civil and military aerospace equipment, as well as for the construction, industrial and transportation markets.

The company was founded in 1778 and has 30 sites across the UK, continental Europe, the US, Mexico and also has a manufacturing facility in Tianjin, China.

A spokeswoman from Doncasters declined to comment when contacted by China Daily.

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