The new millennium has been a period of rapid change for this Sheffield metal engineer founded in the 1850s. Firth Rixson was taken off the stock market in 2003 in a private-equity deal that merged it with California’s Forged Metals. It changed hands again last year in a £945m buyout backed by Oak Hill Capital. The firm now has operations throughout Europe, America and Asia, making parts for the aerospace and energy industries. Customers include Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and GE. Profits have grown 65% a year, from £16.7m in 2004 to £75m in 2007.
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