US giant to sell off land at famous Cathcart site

·3-min read
The Cathcart site on the south side of Glasgow
The Cathcart site on the south side of Glasgow

THE owner of the ClydeUnion Pumps engineering facility in Glasgow is selling off land at the Cathcart site to raise cash to reinvest in the business, it was announced this morning.

US-based Celeros Flow Technology, which manufactures and maintains pumps, valves, filtration, closures and other fluid handling equipment for the renewable, defence, nuclear, oil and gas and water treatment sectors, has appointed property advisers to offer redundant land to the residential market.

The Cathcart site spans around 18 acres, and includes six acres of redundant buildings and land along Inverlair Avenue.

The move to market the land and buildings comes shortly after Celeros, which acquired the site from SPX Flow in 2020 to bring ClydeUnion under its portfolio of brands, completed the sale and leaseback of operational land and buildings at the location.

Celeros FT has signed up to a minimum 25-year commitment on the 369,000 square feet of manufacturing buildings and 111,000 sq ft of office space it currently occupies, with options to extend the term.

It declared this morning that it will invest in a sustainable centre of engineering excellence at the site, and outlined its commitment to a new apprenticeship programme to build a workforce for the future. The programme, run in conjunction with East Kilbride Training Group, will offer 48 apprenticeships over six years, with 22 recruited across 2021/2022 and a further 26 planned for 2023-2026.

Chris McVicker, chief financial officer for Celeros FT, said: “We are proud of the manufacturing capability and heritage of ClydeUnion Pumps and see a period of investment as the catalyst for growth.

"The initial focus will be to invest in the existing building infrastructure and site energy performance, with further plans to build upon our core competencies of engineering, manufacturing and testing pump solutions for the world’s most demanding operating conditions.”

ClydeUnion was sold to SPX Corporation of the US in a £750m deal in 2011, around four years after it had been saved by Scottish industrialist Jim McColl.

Mr McColl had begun his career as an apprentice at the former Weir Pumps business, and his Clyde Blowers Capital outfit had stepped in to save the operation after the proposed sale of Weir Pumps by Weir Group to Swiss rival Sulzer collapsed.

Celeros said this morning that it has appointed Dawn Developments and Cushman & Wakefield to advise on how to deliver investment from the vacant property.

Work to demolish disused buildings is already under way and consultation with the community will form part of the residential development, it said.

Dawn and Cushman & Wakefield acted on behalf of Celeros on the sale and leaseback deal.

Paul O’Donnell, development director at Dawn, said: “The enthusiasm of Celeros Flow Technology to secure the long-term future of ClydeUnion Pumps in Cathcart is refreshing.

"Their vision for the site will enhance the local area in a positive manner, providing much needed family housing in Glasgow and enabling Celeros FT to focus on continuing the legacy and heritage of over 135 years of design and manufacturing of pump equipment in Cathcart.

“We will now embark on a period of community consultation and as plans develop and details evolve, we will be actively sharing them.”

David Davidson, chair of Cushman & Wakefield in Scotland, added: “We are delighted to have worked with Celeros and Dawn to conclude a successful transaction with an established long-term income investor.

"It was a highly competitive bidding process with wide international investor interest. All parties that viewed the premises responded very positively to the ClydeUnion Pumps business and reinvestment plans and shared our collective view that the business would go from strength to strength for decades to come at this historical location in Glasgow.”