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British Industrial History

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Associated British Engineering

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Associated British Engineering

1939 Formed from the Petters Company after the acquisition of Petter's oil-engine business based at Yeovil by Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Name changed to Associated British Engineering; aim of the company to achieve consolidation of the oil-engine industry [1]. It had become a holding company with most of its income derived from its shares in Brush (in which it held a controlling interest) and other investments [2].

1943 Acquired J. and H. McLaren which then won a major contract with the USSR for diesel-generator sets.

1944 Acquisition for cash of the goodwill and assets of the diesel engine business of Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day. A new company to be formed to continue the business under the old name. The Glasgow factory was to remain as part of the Mirrlees Co and would continue to operate as Mirrlees Watson Co, manufacturer of sugar machinery [3]. As a result the range of diesel engines produced by Associated British was expanded, covering 1.5 h.p. to 1400 h.p.

1945 Capt R. C. Petter resigned from the board[4]

1947 Transferred to Brush the assets of the two wholly-owned subsidiaries Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day and J. and H. McLaren in exchange for shares [5] (transaction completed in 1949).

1949 Two of the directors, who were also directors of Brush, would join the board of Henry Meadows of Wolverhampton. Brush to have the option of acquiring at cost any shares acquired as a result of this liaison by Associated British Engineering. Henry Meadows had one of the most modern engine factories in the country. This arrangement would enable Meadows to produce for Brush a range of diesel engines that Brush had designed, as well as the supply of gear-boxes to Brush for use with their diesel engines, meeting a large proportion of Brush's needs for gear-boxes from one source [6].

1950 Sold shareholding in National Gas and Oil Engine Co of Ashton under Lyne at cost to Brush with option for Brush to acquire the remainder of Associated's holding [7].

1950 Took over Hopkinson Electric Co Ltd of Cardiff, manufacturer of small electric motors. Agreed sale to Brush to enable them to expand production [8].

1950 Acquired shares in Heenan and Froude Ltd of Worcester from Brush in exchange for £200,000 cash [9].

1951 Acquired the remaining shares in Henry Meadows that it did not already own [10] (completed 1952).

1953 Sale of shares in Brush

1954 Company meeting told about progress in widen the scope of the company's activities by sale of part of the shareholding in Brush. Manufacturing subsidiaries mentioned were Henry Meadows Ltd, Bergius Co Ltd, H. Widdop and Co, and A. C. Morrison (Engineers) Ltd [11].

1954 Acquired British Polar Engines [12].

1955 Acquired the remaining shares in Parsons Engineering Co [13].

1956 Established new subsidiary company Free Piston Engine Co to exploit the rights acquired from Pescara (France) for the production and marketing of the free pistoned gas generator in defined territories (U.K. and elsewhere) [14]. Concluded agreement with Alan Muntz and Co to develop unit of under 6 inch diameter suitable for automobile use [15].

1956 Acquired majority shareholding in Mackay Industrial Equipment and associated companies involved in earth-moving machinery [16].

1958 Early application of the free piston engine in a ship was foreseen to take place within a few months; a ship was being fitted out by Lithgows. Other British companies were also working on this type of engine including Hawker Siddeley but smaller units for use in automotive applications were not expected soon [17].

1959 Marine engine production was moved from H. Widdop and Co to British Polar Engines; later in the year, Henry Meadows was sold [18].

1961 In order to raise cash, rights issue to shareholders in exchange for shares in subsidiary Bergius-Kelvin Co Ltd, makers of marine engines[19]

1962 Announcement of annual results showed substantial losses, including provision for losses of Free Piston Engine Co. Reorganization of the group expected [20].

1964 Associated British Engineering returned to profit and paid a dividend after a gap of 5 years [21] but future fortunes depended on health of ship-building as the group's interests had by then become closely tied to that sector. Acquired Mackay Industrial Equipment[22]

1966 Ruston and Hornsby acquired Bergius-Kelvin Co[23].

1968 Rumour of take-over from Edmunds Walker [24].

1972 Return to profit after 6 years [25].

1981 Take-over of Hirst and Mallinson [26]

1985 Losses announced and extensive capital reorganisation [27].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 9 December 1938
  2. The Times, 9 September 1938
  3. The Times, 6 September 1944
  4. The Times, 20 June 1945
  5. The Times, 13 Decmber 1947
  6. The Times, 16 May 1949
  7. The Times, 3 May 1950
  8. The Times, 3 May 1950
  9. The Times, 3 May 1950
  10. The Times, 22 December 1951
  11. The Times, 2 September 1954
  12. The Times, 10 December 1954
  13. The Times, 27 January 1955
  14. The Times, 27 Mar 1956
  15. The Times, April 1956
  16. The Times, 26 July 1956
  17. The Times, 22 October 1958
  18. The Times, 17 September 1960
  19. The Times, 1 November 1961
  20. The Times, 11 January 1962
  21. The Times, 27 August 1964
  22. The Times, Oct 23, 1964
  23. The Times 19 January 1966
  24. The Times 27 September 1968
  25. The Times 27 June 1972
  26. The Times 27 April 1981
  27. The Times 11 May 1985