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Powell Duffryn is a United Kingdom coal mining, ports and engineering company. It dug its first coal mine in South Wales in 1840, and after that many other coal mines, and later expanded into various sorts of manufacturing. After its coal mines were nationalised (and subsequently operated by the National Coal Board), the company continued to operate as a ports and engineering firm.

It was acquired in 2000 by Nikko Principal Investments Japan Ltd., a unit of Nikko Cordial Corp. of Japan.[1] [2]


The company was started in Newport in Wales in the 18th century as timber merchants.[3] Thomas Powell inherited the family business at the age of 14 on his fathers death, but the firm struggled to provide a him with living. He saw the potential of Coal as the Industrial Revolution started, and opened a coal mine in 1810. Before he died, Powell negotiated a merger with Sir George Elliot of his colliery interest. In 1864. the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company was formed by his sons. The new company's had an initial capitalization of £ 500,000, and produced 400,000 tons from the eight collieries under their control. The business prospered and by 1913 launched a coal distribution subsidiary in France.

They started a joint venture in the shipping industry in 1920, later acquiring the firm of Stephenson and Clarke who were the partners outright by 1928.

After the 1920 depression, they expanded and by 1935, Powell Duffryn merged its coal operations with those of Welsh Associated Collieries Ltd. This company had been formed in 1930, from 34 collieries combining their coal output and distribution activities. The merger formed P.D. Associated Collieries Ltd., and gave the company an annual output of more than 20 million tons. It also gave the company another subsidiary interest, that of Cambrian Wagon Works Ltd. This wagon-building and repairs business provided the basis for Powell Duffryn to move into engineering, as a new division after mining and shipping. The business was later known as Powell Duffryn Engineering Ltd.

The U.K. coal industry was Nationalised in 1946, and the firm lost its collieries. It was paid £16 million for the assets. The firm diversified and expanded the engineering interests with several acquisitions, buying Hamworthy Engineering Ltd 1n 1962.

In 1972 they acquired the Engineering firm Whitlock and Hymac that built Excavators.

But by the 1980s, the UK industrial market was changing and the firm started to rationalise the business, selling off the shipping division by 1988. The Tees and Hartlepool ports were purchased in 1992. By 1994 the company had attracted the attention of the Hanson conglomerate who attempted a take over. This was then followed by further restructuring, selling off some of the peripheral businesses. Between 1996 and 1998, Powell Duffryn sold or closed some 14 subsidiaries, like the US fuel and chemical storage division which including its Savannah, Georgia and Bayonne, New Jersey chemical storage terminals in 1996, its Eurogas liquefied heating fuel distribution subsidiary in 1997, and its National Pump subsidiary in 1998. This was followed by the sale of the UK Petroleum Products subsidiary in 1998.

The company diversified and expanded their engineering operations with the purchase of "Kvaerner Ships Equipment" (KSE) for £34 million from the Swedish Kvaerner shipping group in December 1998.

The Japanese investment company Nykko Principal Investments aquires Powell Duffryn.

The Hamworthy Belliss & morcom division sold to Gardner Denver Inc. of the US for £ 26 million in September 2001.[4]


  • Air Compressor Products Inc. (USA);
  • Belliss & Morcom Ltd. (UK);
  • Eagle Compressors Inc. (USA);
  • Geesink BV (The Netherlands);
  • Hamwothy Division;
    • Hamworthy Combustion Engineering Ltd. (UK);
    • Hamworthy Heating Ltd. (UK);
    • Hamworthy Compressor Group (UK);
    • Hamworthy Canada Ltd.;
    • Hamworthy Compressor Systems Ltd. (UK);
    • Hamworthy Marine Ltd. (UK);
    • Hamworthy Marine Technology Ltd. (UK);
    • Hamworthy Pumps and Compressors Ltd. (UK);
  • Humberside Holdings Ltd. (UK);
  • H & L Garages Ltd. (UK);
  • Humberside Sea & Land Services Ltd. (UK);
  • JIP Kugleventiler (Denmark);
  • Peabody Engineering Corporation (USA);
  • Powell Duffryn Shipping Ltd. (UK);
  • Powell Duffryn Storage Ltd. (UK);
  • Svanehoj International A/S (Denmark);
  • The company operates Teesport and Hartlepool port on Teesside.

See also


  1. Osborne, Alistair (2:16pm GMT 21/03/2001). "Powell Duffryn in talks to go private", Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-06-24. 
  2. Osborne, Alistair (2:16pm GMT 21/03/2001). "Powell Duffryn on private path", Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-06-24. 
  3. Corporate history

External links

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