Hardy & Greys, the iconic UK fishing tackle manufacturing company, is up for sale. Staff of the Alnwick-based firm, which has held ten Royal Warrants over the last century, learned of the announcement at 4pm last night, and a press release was issued at 8pm. For the past 45 years the company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris & Sheldon Group, a family owned private investment group
Ken Brewster (right), managing director of Hardy & Greys told FF&FT that the sale was an anticipated and strategic decision. He said he was "excited" about the sale and sees it as a positive move in the expansion of the company which, with growing sales and presence in the USA (this year it will record its best profits in six years) is looking for an investment to catapult it into growth.
Following the announcement to his staff, Mr Brewster reassured customers that it would be "business as usual" at the 140-year old firm.
No company has formally announced its interest in buying Hardy & Greys at present, and Grant Thornton will issue a basic prospectus in the near future. Harris & Sheldon Group's holdings of famous Tweed fishing beats, the Junction Pool and Sprouston, do not feature in the sale.
Since it was formed in 1872, Hardy & Greys has been sold just once. Harris & Sheldon Group Ltd, bought the company 45 years ago, but a sea-change in its portfolio management from manufacturing to property, coupled with the fact that chairman of the group, Michael Miller, is looking to retire, has resulted in the company looking for a potential buyer of the group's final holding of a manufacturing facility.
Hardy was awarded its first patent in 1880, and has since been a cornerstone of fly-fishing development. It was the first company to develop carbon-fibre fishing rods, has subsidiaries in USA and Germany, and recently created Sintrix carbon-fibre material, which created worldwide interest. Earlier this year the company made
20 19 staff redundant.