Shropshire businessman expanding French operations

A Shropshire businessman is spearheading a multi-million-pound project with a company in Bridgnorth's twin town of Thiers.

Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, CEO Alamo Group Europe Ltd with Mr Eric Boucourt "Prefet" State and Government Representative outside the Forges Gorce premises in Thiers
Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, CEO Alamo Group Europe Ltd with Mr Eric Boucourt "Prefet" State and Government Representative outside the Forges Gorce premises in Thiers

A Shropshire businessman is spearheading a multi-million-pound project with a company in Bridgnorth's twin town of Thiers.

Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, managing director of Ludlow-based hedgecutter manufacturer McConnel and Alamo Group Europe, has announced the deal which has won the backing of the French Government.

The deal centres on a company called Forges Gorce, which manufacturers agricultural cutting blades and knives used in many types of agricultural machinery, such as large rotary mowers, hedge and verge cutters, combine harvesters.

Dr Davies has announced plans to double the size of Forges Gorce, a company he purchased 16 years ago, following talks with Eric Boucourt, a member of the French Government.

He said: "Among the ten manufacturing companies that I have in Europe, five of them are located in France and since I purchased the company back in 1996 I have doubled the throughput of the factory.

"I met with Eric Boucourt, at Forges Gorce, he is the state and government representative covering the central part of France including Thiers.

"His responsibilities are ensuring that the state's laws are correctly applied in his district, that means he is the head of the police and works with cities' mayors, promoting the development of the central part of France, and local chamber of commerce,and has the authority on the commission attributing grants and subsidies for any company development.

"I have announced plans to physically double the size of the FG company, that is extending the factory and re-equipping it to increase its throughput from six million components to 12 million per annum. The investment will include relaying out the factory shopfloor and atomising the production process wherever possible.

"Through successful negotiations with Eric Boucourt, the French authorities have agreed in principle to support this development project to 10 per cent of the capital cost. The costs, yet to be finalised, will be several million pounds."

Forges Gorce is a supplier of cutting knives/blades to its sister companies including McConnel at Ludlow.

Dr Davies added: "Thiers is a similar town to Bridgnorth as it is built on two levels. The town is world famous for the manufacture of knives. When we commission the new project, which hopefully will be at the start of 2011, I will endeavour to involve in some way the twinning committees both from Bridgnorth and Thiers."