Historic Sheffield manufacturer snapped up by Indian giant

Bob Linley managing director at Wardpower on Wicker Lane, Sheffield
Bob Linley managing director at Wardpower on Wicker Lane, Sheffield

A veteran Sheffield manufacturer has sold his power generator company to an Indian firm in a deal set to bring investment and new jobs.

Bob Linley, aged 61, of Wardpower has completed a deal with Power Engineering (India) to secure its future.

The firm, based on Wicker Lane, makes diesel generators used as emergency back-up - Sheffield Children’s Hospital has two - or as a primary source of electricity.

It employs 15, a further eight sub-contractors have worked as installers for a decade.

Mr Linley said the acquisition would mean extra business and new jobs - the new owner is part of the Pai Kane Group, a “major player” in the generator market with 48 overseas distributors.

British-built generators were in demand and would help Pai Kane crack South America, he added.

“I’ve been looking for an exit strategy and they have been keen to do something with us for quite some time. They see Wardpower as a marque in power generation.

“I will be here for the next two years, possibly longer. But Wardpower needed someone who would look at the next 20.

“Business is very good, we could reach record turnover this year with several major projects in negotiation in the moment.

“We were planning to hire three even without the Indian deal. I expect significant business going through Sheffield. The idea is to build an Anglo-Indian product here.

“It’s very encouraging that there are markets that prefer UK and Sheffield-made goods.”

Mr Linley was 16 when he started work at ‘Tommy Wards’. He was part of a group that bought out the electrical department called Wardpower in 1987.

“I started as a lad in 1972 when it was part of the old Thos W Ward around the corner on Saville Street, it’s been quite a journey and personally satisfying to see a proud and long-established Sheffield name has such a positive future. The first Wardpower generator set was built in Sheffield in 1956 , this takes us to the next level.”