By Roger Vielvoye
British Leyland has stepped in to save the 700 jobs at the Marshall-Fowler plant in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, by purchasing the last British-owned crawler tractor manufacturer from the Thos. W. Ward group for about £3m. It will use the factory for expanding its Aveling-Barford construction equipment manufacturing operations. Aveling-Barford, a major part of the Leyland Special Products group, makes earth-movinig and road-making equipment at Grantham, about 35 miles away.
British Leylaind will invest an additional £2.7m in Marshall- Fowler’s two factories to expand the manufacturing capacity. The acquisition has been approved by the Department Of Industry after consultation with Lord Ryder. chairman-designate of the National Enterprise Board. Mr David Abell, managing director of Leyland Special Products, said yesterday: “There is no question of British Leyland, now backed by government money, using it to save a lame duck. The Marshall-Fowler business has been very carefully examined, and it makes sound financial sense for us to take it over. The product ranges of both Aveling-Barford and Marshall-Fowler are in many ways complementary. For some time we have been looking for ways of expanding capacity at Grantham without a massive capital expenditure.”