Fishing firm put up for sale as company looks to the future

Discussions over the sale of a world-renowned fishing equipment manufacturer are expected to take several months.

Alnwick-based Hardy and Greys is seeking a new owner after identifying major investment in export markets as the key to its continuing success.

Current owner, the Harris & Sheldon Group Ltd, is stripping itself of the manufacturing businesses under its control and has instructed business advisors Grant Thornton to look for a potential buyer.

It comes less than a year after more than 20 staff were made redundant from Hardy, which has been based in the town since 1872.

But a company spokesman has said that putting it up for sale is ‘not bad news’ and the search is on for a buyer who understands Hardy’s heritage and values, and who can take it to ‘the next level’.

However, he claimed that if a buyer can not be found, then it will ‘continue to be business as usual’.

He said: “We have had a good year given the state of the industry generally, much improving our financial performance over last year.

“The company has ambitious growth plans and much of this uplift in sales will come from an expansion of our European and North American subsidiaries, as well as new product developments.

“This will require significant further investment that no longer aligns with the long-term strategy of Harris & Sheldon Group Ltd, who feel that new owners would be a better option going forward.

“This is not bad news. We’re seeking a buyer who shares the vision to develop our strong European and North American operations, which would be good news for our Alnwick operation.

“Grant Thornton will be talking to a number of interested parties and we expect those discussions to continue for several months.

“At the moment we simply don’t know how quickly the sale process will develop – but we will be open with our staff, suppliers and customers and keep them appropriately informed of developments.

“But if, for some unknown reason, the company does not get sold then it will continue to be business as usual.”

The company has held 10 Royal Warrants over the last century, with the Prince of Wales among its customers.