WORLD renowned fishing tackle maker Hardy and Greys has been put up for sale, less than a year after the 140-year-old firm made 20 staff redundant.
The Alnwick-based company, which has held 10 Royal Warrants over the last century and numbers the Prince of Wales among its customers, has identified major investment in export markets as key to its survival.
However, its current owners Harris & Sheldon is stripping itself of the manufacturing businesses under its control and has instructed business advisers Grant Thornton to look for a potential buyer.
Hardy, which has been owned by Harris & Sheldon group, based near Coventry, for the last 45 years, made a loss of £446,000 in 2010 on a turnover of £12.84m.
It shed 20 of its 100 staff as a result of these losses and forecast that the company would plunge further into the red by the end of the year.
A spokesman for Hardy and Greys said: “After redundancies were made earlier this year, the business has since turned itself around and managed to win greater market share. The future of the company’s looking extremely positive.
“However, the group needed to make big investments in the export market, namely Germany and America where trading is strongest, but it is not willing to make the necessary investments to take it to the next stage.
“The group is looking to move out of manufacturing and more into general investment. Until the business is sold, it will be business as usual at Alnwick and there will be no impact on jobs.”
Hardy has been based in Alnwick since its formation in 1872. It became Hardy & Greys in 2004 after it bought fellow fishing tackle brand Greys.
The company has been at the forefront of the fishing tackle market since being awarded its first patent in 1880.
It developed the first carbon fibre fishing rods and, thanks to a partnership with researchers at 3M, recently created rods made from a new carbon fibre material that have won a string of awards.
High-profile fans of Hardy & Grey tackle include Chris Tarrant, Eric Clapton and Sir Ian Botham.
The business was founded by brothers William and John James Hardy in 1872. As keen fishermen based in Alnwick, the brothers decided to develop their own equipment and the company was born. Since then it has gained a worldwide reputation for first-class equipment.
It supplies all over the world from Asia to America, Australia and Europe and is the only company to still manufacture rods in the UK.
The company also has a 120-year association with royalty. It is the only fishing company to hold the Prince of Wales’ Royal warrant.
Royal warrants are a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for at least five years to certain members of the Royal Family.