A NEW chapter could be written in the long history of Rangemaster in Leamington.
The cooker manufacturer, which can draw on a history stretching back over 200 years in the town, is in talks about a possible take over with American food service giant the Middleby Corporation.
Rangemaster remained tight-lipped this week but Middleby bosses said talks were at a “very early stage”. Shares in the Rangemaster rocketed by 35 per cent when the news broke.
David Bailey, professor of industry at Aston University in Birmingham, said “As with every foreign investment, it could bring benefits to the company. The flip side is that, if this goes ahead, will decisions be made in the US? Will they keep manufacturing in Britain?”
Rangemaster is based at the historic Eagle Foundry off Brunswick Street which was built in 1833 after John Flavel had moved his operation to the town at the turn of the 19th century.
The factory has long been a major employer in the town and currently employs some 500 people in the manufacture of the iconic cast iron cookers which are a favourite of many including celebrity chefs like Mary Berry and Nigela Lawson.
But despite their popularity there was a fall in profits last year, although an upturn was reported earlier this year when the company also celebrated the one millionth range cooker rolling off the production line.
And the firm had another reason to celebrate this month with the fist sale of one its cookers in China.
In the past three years the company has also invested some £3million in Leamington creating a new state of the art design and production centre.