Black Country steel business Acenta acquired by Singapore-based Aar Tee

A £70m turnover steel processing business with its headquarters in the Black Country has been bought by a Singapore-based metals trader.

The price tag on the deal is not being disclosed but it sees Acenta Steel, based on Planetary Road in Willenhall, acquired by Aar Tee Industries.

The news was announced to staff at a special meeting on Friday by Acenta's co-owner Tarlok Singh, who handed a key to Aar Tee founder and chairman Ravi Trehan to mark the change in ownership.

The Acenta senior management stay in place with Mr Singh now becoming executive chairman of the business, while finance director and COO Chris Mills becomes chief executive.

Both hailed the deal as ushering in an "exciting new growth chapter" in the history of the business which can trace its origins back to the 19th century and now supplies steel products to nearly 5,000 customers worldwide.

Last year Acenta Steel achieved turnover of £70 million across its six sites in the UK, which employ 350 people – around 120 of them at Willenhall. Its products are used in precision-finished material for component manufacture in wide ranging and demanding engineering applications such as engine, driveline and suspension parts, hydraulic valves and household goods.

The transaction provides Singaporean-registered Aar Tee with a strong brand name to help establish its industrial presence in the UK while it continues to leverage its strong trading base in metals and raw materials for the steel sector.

Ravi Trehan, founder and chairman of Aar Tee said: “Our investment in Acenta Steel is a new milestone for the Aar Tee Group. We are very excited to be entering the manufacturing sector in the UK and have big ambitions to grow in this space through investment and innovation.”

He said this industrial investment had been inspired by the success of Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group – also a worldwide metals trading business which has now become Britain’s largest and fastest-growing industrial employer. Mr Trehan said: “I would like to thank Sanjeev Gupta for sharing with us his vision for the regeneration of UK manufacturing.”

Mr Gupta, who's Liberty business works with Acenta, is understood to have brokered the deal, introducing Mr Trehan to the steel processing firm's management.

Mr Trehan said: “Tarlok and Colin have led the business through challenging periods for the steel sector and it is now in a great position to achieve long-term sustainable growth.”

Tarlok Singh, said: “Having spent over 40 years with Acenta Steel and its predecessors, I am absolutely delighted to take this prestigious business into new ownership that will have the resources to allow it to flourish, fulfil its potential and become a world-class company.

"We have excellent relationships with our business partners, which will continue to thrive under the independence and strength of the Acenta brand with a clear focus towards its global customer base.”

Colin Mills added:” I’m thrilled to be taking on the lead role while continuing my partnership with Tarlok. Under Aar Tee ownership, the long-term prospects for the business are greatly enhanced and I look forward to implementing the ambitious industrial strategy with Aar Tee. We have a strong market position and retain a financially solid and independent platform from which to grow in the future.”

The Aar Tee investment was led by Hitesh Pattani, CEO Aar Tee UK. Aar Tee was advised by Eversheds and Sutherlands and the Acenta team were advised by MArk Gibson of DWF.

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