Major minerals deal completes for steel supply chain duo

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 7 Dec 2018

A major international deal with Scunthorpe operations at the heart has completed.

LKAB Minerals has closed the acquisition of Francis Flower, with both businesses playing critical roles in British Steel’s supply chain.

Agreed in October, the buy-out was given international clearance last month.

Both have a strong presence in northern Lincolnshire, with LKAB’s main UK operations at Flixborough and Francis Flower’s largest production stream embedded within the steelworks.

Francis Flower, founded in the Fifties, is a leading provider of ground granulated blast furnace slag, which is produced in Scunthorpe as a cement substitute for concrete, bringing CO2 emission-reducing qualities from the steel-making by-product.

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LKAB is a major supplier of highly upgraded iron ore products to British Steel, with deliveries dating back to the Thirties.

Darren Wilson, European chief executive for Swedish owned LKAB, said: “This is a positive and exciting step towards strengthening the two companies. Together we form a stronger minerals company with a wider network of production sites and broader product portfolio. There are synergies in our product offerings and ability to service our customers that will strengthen us as a supplier.”

Mr Wilson, who is based in Flixborough, has effectively taken over management of the Francis Flower company and has formed a joint management team for the combined UK business. 

Next year will seen the two companies unite under the LKAB brand, with a merger of the legal entities.

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Francis Flower is Somerset-headquartered, and bought the Scunthorpe site, which sits close to Brigg Road on the sprawling steelworks, from Hanson Cement in 2015.

It brings sales of £70 million to the £210 million LKAB portfolio.

Chairman and chief executive Adrian Willmott has stepped down into a consultative capacity for the integration phase.

He said: “LKAB Minerals are in a unique position to further develop Francis Flower across all its product lines. I have the utmost confidence that they will do so using the same core values we have adopted with our customers, suppliers and employees throughout our history. There is no doubt that LKAB Minerals’ links to its parent’s iron ore business will present much opportunity to Francis Flower in its next chapter. Combine this with the ambitions of Darren Wilson and Leif Boström (senior vice president for the special products division in LKAB and chief executive of LKAB Minerals Group) and Francis Flower is going to continue to be an exciting place to be.”

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