Cook boss vin­di­cated over £8m in­vest­ment

Yorkshire Post - Business - - NEWS - David Walsh BUSI­NESS RE­PORTER @DavidMwalsh

A new foundry which safe­guarded 300 Sh­effield steel­work­ers’ jobs is prof­itable, jus­ti­fy­ing an £8m in­vest­ment, ac­cord­ing to boss Sir An­drew Cook.

The suc­cess of the Pre­ci­sion Foundry marks the end of a fouryear plan to save the Sh­effield oper­a­tions of Wil­liam Cook Cast Prod­ucts af­ter the cat­a­strophic oil price crash of 2013.

The ex­pe­ri­ence has been bit­ter­sweet. It cost £8m of fam­ily money and many sleep­less nights and, he be­lieves, if it were al­most any other com­pany, he would have been sacked.

Sir An­drew said: “It was only heart that kept it go­ing. There was no com­pelling busi­ness case. There was se­ri­ous doubt in my mind for six months.

“Then for two years build­ing this new fac­tory, wor­ry­ing it was the right de­ci­sion.

“But this is my life’s work. I couldn’t have lived with my­self if I’d closed it.”

Sir An­drew is sixth gen­er­a­tion, in­spir­ing a long-term view and much pride. Cer­tainly the al­ter­na­tive – be­ing the Cook who sold up – had no ap­peal.

In March 2017, the firm opened a £6m fa­cil­ity at its Park­way Av­enue site. Premises at Half­way were closed and work­ers brought over, with no com­pul­sory re­dun­dan­cies, Sir An­drew said.

“It’s taken time to bed down. It was quite a shock for work­ers, there was a lot of change and new pro­cesses. It took out some of the or­der book. But it’s now at a point of sta­bil­ity and rhythm, it’s prof­itable enough to jus­tify the huge amount spent on it.”

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