Arrival of Chinese global steel giant heralds order book boost

Hi-tech engineering companies across the Sheffield City Region are set to see their order books boosted by millions with the arrival of Chinese global engineering giant CISDI Group.

A part of the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), which is rated one of the top global companies in the newly released Fortune 500 and one of the leading contractors in the erection of the Beijing Olympic Stadium, CISDI Group has chosen Sheffield above New York and Dusseldorf to site a subsidiary which will serve the steel industry throughout Europe and the USA.

CISDI Group produces steel plants the size of small towns and has a revenue target of £1.48 billion this year.

Delegates from China identified Sheffield as the very best location out of the three. Its skilled workforce and reputation for excellence in advanced manufacturing were deciding factors, alongside strong road and rail links and the support shown from Sheffield City Council and Creative Sheffield.

NingChuan Yang, director of overseas business for the state-owned CISDI Group, jets into the city today from South West China to open the new engineering division at the former PlusNet HQ in Victoria Quays.

CISDI’s arrival heralds a new respect for the region’s steel heritage. Where once China sought to replicate what Sheffield engineering companies produced, now it is buying into their quality and world-wide reputation for excellence.

The Sheffield division will provide engineering design and be the purchasing hub for the CISDI Group, sourcing highly specialised components and equipment for incorporation into steel plants worldwide. It expects to place orders of up to £7m a year and where possible, source in the Sheffield City Region.

“The steel heritage, the wealth of highly-skilled, metallurgically-focused workforce and strong educational facilities were a major contributing factor in choosing Sheffield,” said CISDI UK MD John Lester.

“So was the encouragement shown by the City Council. Creative Sheffield have been amazingly supportive. They accommodated us free of charge for six months while property agents Knight Franks secured a suitable location. We could not have asked for more.”

He described CISDI’s arrival as great news for the city and added: “We plan to boost the order books of local companies. One of the main functions of the company is to procure hi-tech engineering components, which will be integrated into steel plants worldwide and ideally we want to buy them here.

“We are welcoming approaches from local engineering companies producing bearings, seals, pumps and motors – all the clever stuff CISDI needs for the huge steel equipment it creates all over the world. We want to build up a portfolio of local people we can work with.”

Since deciding on Sheffield as a home for its worldwide operations outside of China, CISDI has invested £2.2 million in the city’s economy. Around £1 million has been spent on the purchase and refurbishment of the former PlusNet offices and since beginning trading in November the company has secured orders of £1.5m.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield City Council deputy leader and cabinet member for Business, Skills and Development, said: “We’ve been working with CISDI for over 12 months and are delighted it chose Sheffield over Dusseldorf and New York.

“It is testament to the pull Sheffield has for overseas investors and the excellent work of our Inward Investment Team, our advance manufacturing and engineering output, geography, transport and our workforce skillset. CISDI is a great asset to the city.”

Senior design engineer Darryl Wall, purchasing manager Bob Foster, quality manager John Birtles, MD John Lester and chief engineer Andrew Pence

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