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Black Country firm bought by Indian firm

The Indian utility vehicle and agricultural tractor manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra Limited (M&M) has acquired 98.6% shares in Stokes Group Limited from its existing main shareholders, the Jennings family, who had controlled the firm since 1938.

Stokes Group is the UK's largest automotive forging company and includes three subsidiary companies, with two manufacturing sites, at Walsall and Dudley, West Midlands. Stokes supplies OEMs & tier one suppliers, with customers including Koyo Bearings, GWK Group, Land Rover, ZF, Bosch, Benteler, Visteon, Ford and Jaguar. The turnover of Stokes Group was £25 million for the year ended December 31, 2004.

Mahindra and Mahindra says the acquisition further strengthens its Mahindra Systems and Automotive Technologies (MSAT) business, which aims at offering a full range of services from design to delivery covering engineering services, strategic sourcing and supply of components.

Hemant Luthra, the President of MSAT said: "The acquisition offers multiple benefits to MSAT & Stokes stakeholders. The customers in Europe can continue to get high quality product from a better capitalized supplier at economic pricing. Indian customers would get access to world class technology and the rich legacy of experience that the Stokes management team brings to the table. Both would benefit from the design capabilities of Mahindra Engineering Services (MES) that can accelerate product development."

The Stokes management team led by Ian Young will remain in place.

Esther Horwood, chairperson of Stokes, said: "Ours has been a leading company for 40 years and more than one generation. Our faith in M&M and their promise to uphold the Stokes traditions and hold the company in trust for future generations was instrumental in our decision."

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