Liberty House saves 740 jobs at UK auto-supplier

Fast-growing industrial group, Liberty House, has announced another major advance into the automotive supply sector by acquiring high-profile Tier 1 vehicle pressings and assemblies manufacturer, CovPress, which had been in administration since September last year.

CovPress, a professional metal stamping and robotic assembly specialist, is a Tier 1 supplier to JLR, Renault and GM - image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.
CovPress, a professional metal stamping and robotic assembly specialist, is a Tier 1 supplier to JLR, Renault and GM – image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

The deal, completed with administrators Grant Thornton UK LLP, secures the jobs of 740 skilled workers at the firm’s 33,000 sqm plant in Canley, Coventry.

Liberty Industries Group, part of Liberty House Group, which already has 17 engineering businesses employing more than 1,000 people across the West Midlands, regards the CovPress acquisition as a strong strategic fit with its established and rapidly-expanding presence in the automotive supply chain.

Only three weeks ago the group completed the purchase of the UK’s only aluminium smelter at Fort William and announced plans for auto-component manufacturing there as part of a £450m industrial and energy investment in the Scottish Highlands.

More than 50% of all components used in the one-million plus cars assembled in the UK are imported. Under its GREENSTEEL and GREENMETAL strategy, Liberty and sister company, SIMEC, aim to reduce reliance on imports and supply the country’s vehicle manufacturers with more components made locally from British aluminium and steel using renewable energy and recycled metal.

The Liberty House Group’s strategy is to create a fully-integrated UK industrial supply chain, from raw metal production through to highly-engineered products, such as the Liberty 920e advanced braking systems, which epitomise the auto-sector’s evolution towards lighter more efficient components.

CovPress, a professional metal stamping and robotic assembly specialist, is a Tier 1 supplier to JLR, Renault and GM, while Liberty Industries already supplies a range of components to JLR, Nissan and BMW, as well as Unipres; Benteler; GKN; Adient; Calsonic; SNOP, and Cummins.

The business, due to be renamed Liberty Pressing Solutions, has existed on the Canley site for more than a century, and benefited from major investment in the latest plant and machinery since being acquired by the previous owners in 2013. At the same time, its engineers have established a strong reputation for devising innovative design solutions for customers.

Chief executive of Liberty Industries Group, Douglas Dawson explained: “We are very familiar with the high quality of the operation at Covpress and the skills and equipment in the business. As such we are extremely pleased they are becoming part of the Liberty Industries Group.

“We have drawn up a detailed plan to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the business. That will include ongoing capital investment, strengthened financial management and the benefits that will come from joint purchasing and marketing with our other operations in the UK.”

Executive chairman of the Liberty House Group, Sanjeev Gupta added: “There exists a huge opportunity for Britain’s industrial supply chain to achieve dynamic growth through becoming more innovative and competitive. By adding quality operations like CovPress to Liberty’s already thriving network, we aim to play a leading part in this landmark economic shift.”

Joint administrator, Eddie Williams of Grant Thornton, said: “CovPress is a fundamentally strong business… The successful sale to Liberty not only provides a secure future for this pivotal Midlands engineering enterprise but means the administrators should also have funds available to distribute to creditors.”