This Phoenix engineering firm in Lancashire has been snapped up

A Lancashire engineering firm which battled back after being hit by a major fire in 2019 has been sold.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 3:30 pm

Infrastructure solutions business and operator of several critical UK energy sites, px Group, has acquired Fairport Engineering, the engineering and materials handling specialist based in Adlington and which includes Fairport Tunnelling Technologies in Sunderland.

Fairport’s complex on Market Place suffered significant destruction in the February 2019 blaze with some buildings having to be demolished and later rebuilt.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, brings Fairport’s materials handling expertise into px Group’s group of businesses. The acquisition is the company’s first since being acquired itself by Ara Partners in April 2021. Fairport’s 70-plus staff will now be part of px Group.

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The head office of px Group which has bought Fairport Engineering of Adlington

px Group says that the acquisition is the next step in its international and domestic growth strategy, which comprises both acquisitive and organic growth streams. Earlier this year, px Group announced its first major operational work outside of the UK at the Risavika Liquefaction Plant, in Norway.

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Until now, px Group had not had an ‘in-house’ materials handling offering but now, through the Fairport team, will be able to offer materials handling design, construction, and management both nationally and internationally. Materials handling expertise is required to be able to transport, import and export materials such as fuels and feedstock, as well as product, from both single industrial plants and large-scale sites.

In acquiring Fairport, px Group now has an engineering base in the Northwest, and a third base in the Northeast of England where it already has a significant presence (Teesside HQ, Saltend Chemicals Park) and in Scotland (Aberdeen). px Group says that the location and having ‘boots on the ground’ in the area was a key factor in the decision to bring Fairport into the group.

Scenes from the fire at Fairport Engineering in Adlington

Geoff Holmes, chief executive of px Group, said: “We are thrilled to be adding Fairport’s expertise to px Group’s offering - the company is full of brilliant people who are experts in their field. We would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to Neil Hyde, Neil Hargrave, and their teams.

“This is a strategically important move for px Group, given Fairport’s strong footprint in the Northwest and its industry-leading materials handling capabilities. The company has had a strong financial performance in recent years and should integrate seamlessly into our business model.

“The Fairport teams are trusted experts. When we conducted our due diligence, clients and stakeholders could not have been more glowing about Fairport’s people and the way they work. That approach has been instilled by Fairport’s departing chairman, Paul Fitton, and we are therefore delighted that Paul will still be available to support the business on a consultancy basis.”

Neil Hyde, managing director of Fairport Engineering, said: “This is a major next step in the Fairport journey. We are in our 40th year this year and joining up with px Group, a world-class company delivering essential services to the UK energy industry, is a terrific way to celebrate that.”

Neil Hargrave, Managing Director of Fairport Tunnelling Technologies, said: “Throughout the process, Geoff Holmes and his team stressed px Group’s owner-operator approach - which in practice means treating assets as if they were your own. That’s the way business should be, and it goes hand in hand with the way we do things - px Group is a fantastic fit for Fairport.”