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British Industrial History

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Laird

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Laird plc is a British-based electronics and technology business. It is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

1824 The company was founded by William Laird as Birkenhead Iron Works in Liverpool.

1862 After passing through various forms the company became Laird Brothers.

1903 Laird Brothers merged with Charles Cammell & Company Limited to become Cammell, Laird and Co

1928 Merger of companies in the railway carriage and wagon industry to form Metropolitan Cammell Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, involved parts of Vickers and Cammell, Laird and Co[1]. Cammell, Laird and Co contributed their Nottingham factory and their interests in the Midland Railway Carriage and Wagon Co Ltd and the Leeds Forge Co Ltd.

1965 Cammell, Laird and Co split its operations between two new subsidiary companies:

1970 The company made major loss due to problems in shipbuilding, exacerbated by the investment in establishing the capacity to build Polaris submarines, and losses on existing contracts[2]. The situation was not helped by the diversification activities making less profit than had been expected[3]. The financial crisis was averted by quick action by the Labour Government, who took a 50 percent share in the shipbuilding company[4]; the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation provided loans and instituted a major reorganisation of the board.

1970 The name of Cammell Laird was changed to The Laird Group[5]; the Laird Group retained the other 50% of the Shipbuilding business as well as the Shiprepairing business[6] but by this stage, the shipyard’s customers were edgy about ordering from them. As well as the 2 Cammell Laird operations, subsidiaries included Solar, Metro, Anglesey and Scottish Aviation, which had plenty of work, as well as Patent Shaft, which was making most of the profit in the company[7]

1971 After a 9 month turnaround the company's finances had been improved so it hoped to be in profit by the end of the year[8]

1971 A serious miscalculation on the cost of refitting a liner led to a loss by the Cammell Shiprepairing business[9]

1972 Laird repaid its loan from the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation; the government had also sold the IRC's share holding in Laird[10]

1975 The government announced plans to nationalize ship building and repairing businesses, including Laird's shiprepairing operations (J. B. Howie Ltd trading as CBS Engineering Co and Western Shiprepairers Ltd)[11] as well as Scottish Aviation and Cammell Laird Shipbuilders but the latter was not consolidated in Laird's account[12]

1977 Laird's shipbuilding business was nationalised

1980s Laird moved into security products.

1989 Laird decided to sell its bus (Metropolitan-Cammell-Weymann (MCW)) and rail divisions. No buyer for the complete group could be found so each product was sold separately. The Metrorider was bought by Optare who relaunched it as the MetroRider; the Metrobus design was bought by DAF (chassis) and Optare (body), who jointly reworked it into the Optare Spectra. The Metroliner design was acquired by Optare though not pursued. The Metrocab was bought by Reliant. Metro Cammell's rail division and the Washwood Heath factory went to GEC Alsthom (now Alstom).

1994 Moved into electronics

2000 Disposed of its automotive industry activities

2007 Disposed of its security business.

2008 changed its name from Laird Group Plc to Laird Plc


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 18 December 1928
  2. The Times Feb 05, 1970
  3. The Times, May 08, 1970
  4. The Times, May 08, 1970
  5. The Times, Sep 26, 1970
  6. The Times, Feb 01, 1971
  7. The Times Oct 26, 1970
  8. The Times, Apr 05, 1971
  9. The Times, Sep 13, 1971
  10. The Times, Jan 12, 1972
  11. The Times, Mar 18, 1975
  12. The Times, Apr 07, 1975
  • [1] Company web site