Peterlee engineering firm GT Group snapped up by global giant

GT Group founder Geoff Turnbull
GT Group founder Geoff Turnbull
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An East Durham engineering business has been snapped up by a major global firm to create a global centre of excellence for commercial vehicle exhaust systems.

Peterlee’s GT Group has been acquired by international technology giant Knorr-Bremse Group.

I am exceptionally proud of what we have achieved at GT Group over the last three decades, proving advanced manufacturing can thrive in the North East, creating sustainable employment and ground-breaking technology that is exported around the world.

Geoff Turnbull

The Munich-based family firm is the world’s leading manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles, with sales totalling almost 6billion Euro in 2015, and has targeted GT Group because of its advanced environmental engineering in emission control.

GT Group produces specialist systems to help cut emissions from diesel engines and make them compliant with international emission laws.

The company was founded more than 30 years ago by Geoff Turnbull and employs more than 250 people.

Geoff is retiring as chairman to pursue other interests, most notably his growing racehorse breeding enterprise at Elwick Stud: “Knorr- Bremse is at the pinnacle of engineering around the world and the perfect custodian for GT Group and the extensive expertise and technologies we have developed,” he said.

“The support it will provide to GT Group’s established and experienced management team will maintain our trajectory of growth and maximise on new opportunities across international markets.

“I am exceptionally proud of what we have achieved at GT Group over the last three decades, proving advanced manufacturing can thrive in the North East, creating sustainable employment and ground-breaking technology that is exported around the world.

“With the expertise of our workforce and the support of its new owners, I am confident I am leaving the business in very safe hands.”

Dr. Peter Laier is the Knorr-Bremse AG executive board member with responsibility for the Commercial Vehicle Systems Division.

“The strategic fit of GT Group to Knorr-Bremse and the strong position of our combined businesses will enable us to meet the needs of our worldwide customers in the engine air management business even more comprehensively,” he said.

“We are planning a close engineering collaboration especially between GT Emissions Systems and our subsidiaries in Japan and China.”

The transaction was undertaken for an undisclosed sum, taking into consideration GT Group’s position as a debt-free organisation with a forecast order book of several hundred million pounds.

Knorr-Bremse Group will also support growth of GT Group’s other international business units, which cover a diverse range of engineering activities including specialist valves and couplings for the safe transfer of LNG and other hazardous liquids, bespoke adaptations for road tankers and large industrial vehicles and seals and composites used in the automotive sector.

More than 90% of GT Group’s products and services are exported to more than 60 countries.