Founded in Sheffield in 1778, this company specialises in working with alloys and metals that are difficult to shape. Its precision components include aircraft engines, turbine blades, casings and heat shields. Under chief executive David Smoot, 48, the Burton-upon-Trent firm sold its subsidiary, Nelson Fastener Systems, to US manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker in April this year for $440m (£330m) in order to focus on its core specialist markets and pay down debt.
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