A HISTORIC Barnsley engineering company which was at the centre of speculation about its future has been bought out by its management.

Qualter Hall, based on Johnson Street, has been the subject of rumours since its Austrian parent company, Waagner Biro, announced it had entered administration before Christmas.

About 120 people are understood to be employed by Qualter Hall, which was founded in 1860 and provides project engineering, manufacturing and mining solutions.

But this week a management buyout was announced, backed by Enact - a £30m small and medium enterprise (SME) fund run by Leeds-based private equity firm, Endless - taking control from Waagner Biro.

The business has comprehensive design and manufacturing facilities and provides a one-stop shop for a multitude of engineering solutions.

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Landmark projects include the multi-award-winning Scale Lane Bridge, Hull, the moving Baturusa Bascule Bridge in Indonesia and fixed bridge in Belize, numerous bespoke projects in the nuclear sector, as well as ongoing work on the River Thames’ barrier.

The existing Qualter Hall management team comprising managing director, George Orton, directors Graham Carr and Keith Richardson and commercial manager Mick Glymond will remain.

They will be joined by Enact’s Chris Cormack along with Wayne Bowser, who has been appointed chairman.

Mr Orton said: “Qualter Hall has built up a renowned reputation over many decades for providing a unique service in the field of bespoke engineering both in the UK and worldwide, of which we are extremely proud.

“It is very much business as usual at Qualter Hall and we are delighted to have supportive partners in Enact and look forward to an exciting future together.

“The rumours beforehand were 100 per cent not true. If anything we’re investing in our workforce and setting new people on, so it wasn’t the case that jobs were at risk in Barnsley.”

Chris added: “Qualter Hall was an autonomous, standalone business within the Waagner Biro group.

“It has a reputation for high quality design and manufacture and has undertaken iconic projects around the world. We are delighted to support the management team in acquiring the business which will allow them to deliver a number of exciting projects within the pipeline and fulfil their ambitious growth plans.”