AN aerospace firm, kept in family hands since being founded in 1948, has been sold for £54million.

Foulridge-based Weston EU, which designs and produces components for commercial aeroplanes, ended 63 years of family ownership when it was acquired by multi-national company Senior plc yesterday.

The firm, which employs more than 230, was founded by villager Richard Sutton on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

His son Geoffrey Sutton is Weston’s current CEO and his grandsons Richard and Jim are managing director and co-director, respectively.

This management team will keep their jobs after the acquisition.

The company’s website speaks of an “ultra-modern production environment” with an “unmistakable and friendly family atmosphere pervading the organisation”.

Its major customers include Rolls-Royce, Spirit Aerosystems and Contour Aerospace and last year had sales of £42.5m which equated to around £4.2m profit.

Senior, which also produces technology components and systems for aerospace producers said it expected the deal to add to earnings immediately.

More than 70 per cent of Weston’s revenue for the first ten months of 2011 was derived from the Airbus commercial aircraft.

A spokesman for Senior, said: “Over the past year, Airbus has announced build-rate increases for all aircraft types and, the future prospects for Weston appear highly encouraging.”