When I left school I went for an interview at BTR (British Tyre and Rubber) in Leyland but luckily they didn’t want me. That factory closed with the downturn in manufacturing and end of Leyland Motors as a stand-alone company. BTR then became part of Invensys, makers of control systems. It was announced yesterday that Siemens of Germany will buy out Invensys Rail for £1.74bn. Invensys will then become a software, systems and control equipment company for oil, gas plants and domestic appliances, and be able to pay off its large pension debt. Invensys shares have risen, shareholders will take a payment from the deal as well.
Regretfully another British industrial activity is heading for overseas control. Invensys have interests in Chinese railways and are working on Crossrail in the UK. It seems that as British rail investment has increased we have become mainly importers of trains and now the signalling technology is going to be controlled overseas. Our prolonged debates about transport and infrastructure in general is no help to creating the stable strategy that investment in manufacturing requires. Yet this seems to be financially a good deal for the company.