Historic Redditch aerospace business reports rising revenues

Mettis Aerospace new factory

Redditch-based Mettis Aerospace has reported group sales revenue up 10 per cent year-on-year to £82.5 million (from £75 million in 2017) which reflects further growth in sales of products for new and next generation aircraft and engines as well as increased build rates.

Mettis Aerospace began back in the 1930s as High Duty Alloys (HDA). Its Redditch facility was responsible for producing the majority of Britain’s aero-engine pistons throughout the Second World War, producing more than ten million components, including the V-shaped spars that held the bouncing bombs on the Lancaster bombers during the Dambusters raid.

Consequently, the factory was often a target for the German Luftwaffe which was keen to disable one of the allies’ vital wartime manufacturers. To combat this threat, anti-aircraft guns were stationed up on the hill by the forge mill.

By the end of 1941, HDA’s Redditch site covered nearly 26 acres and employed 1,553 people. With a boom in demand throughout the war, this total eventually exceeded 2,500 with the factory operating six days a week.

In 1945 HDA made the first impellors for Frank Whittle’s pioneer engine in what was then a top-secret project. Following more ‘firsts’ throughout the decades, the company became Mettis Aerospace in 1999 following its acquisition by the Mettis Group.

Operating profit for the financial year dropped to £9.4m (£10.8m in 2017) due to a number of one-off restructuring costs and increased costs associated with introducing an unprecedented number of new products to the market.

The company invested £6.3 million in equipment, technologies and site enhancements as part of a £25m investment programme which is in its advanced stages.

Despite ongoing economic uncertainty in the UK, Mettis has some long-term agreements in place with many customers, giving the company excellent visibility of future demand and growth,

The company said that the outlook for the civil aerospace market remains positive as travel volumes continue to increase. Growth of around five per cent per year is expected for both passenger and cargo traffic, with highest growth rates anticipated in the Asia Pacific region and China with India, the Middle East and Latin America closely behind. This anticipated growth means that the existing world airline fleet is forecast to increase from the current 24,400 aircraft to 48,540 by 2037. (Source: Boeing Commercial Market Outlook 2018-2037).

Mettis is positioned on virtually all major civil aerospace programmes. It is particularly well represented on single-aisle programmes which are expected to make up 70% of new aircraft.