AN Israeli arms manufacturer has sold part of its Oldham-based business after months of protests.

On Monday, Elbit Systems UK announced that it had sold Ferranti Technologies’ Power and Control business (Ferranti P&C), based in Waterhead, to British electronic firm TT Electronics for £9 million.

Claiming ‘victory’, the group Palestine Action, which has been fighting to shut down the Ferranti Technologies site for 18 months, said the sale had made the continued operation of Elbit in Oldham appear ‘unfeasible’.

The site on Greenacres Road has been repeatedly targeted by activists who claim the factory located there is involved in the supply of deadly weapons, including ‘combat drones’, used by the Israeli military against Palestinians.

Campaigners from Oldham Peace have held weekly protests at the Elbit Ferranti factory since the bombing of Gaza last May, which resulted in the deaths of 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.

Over the last year, protesters from Palestine Action have broken into the factory, chained themselves to the premises, smashed windows, climbed onto the factory’s roof, stuck “war crime scene” barrier tape across the front doors and sprayed the words “Shut Elbit Down”, leading to multiple arrests.

The Oldham Times:

Protestors sprayed 'Shut Elbit Down' on the factory's entrance in February.

The group claims that protesters’ repeated occupation of the site has caused ‘weeks of forced factory closure’ and cost Elbit ‘millions’.

In response to the sale of Ferranti P&C, a spokesperson from Palestine Action said: “Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in production in Oldham”.

In November 2021, anonymous sources reportedly revealed to Palestine Action that ‘mass redundancy notices’ had been issued to staff working at the factory, and that the premises were being cleared in preparation for Elbit leaving the site.

A spokesperson at Elbit Systems UK has said that “activities related to existing Elbit Systems UK programmes will continue on the site in Oldham” and did not confirm whether drone technologies had ceased production.

Commenting on the sale of Ferranti P&C, an Elbit Systems UK spokesman said: “The integration of most of the activities of Ferranti Technologies into our Aerospace and Simulation Business Unit and the sale of a separate part of Ferranti Technologies activity is part of the continued implementation of our UK growth strategy.

“Following a series of successful contract awards from the UK MOD, Elbit Systems UK is well established in the UK, and will continue to provide cutting-edge solutions, manufactured in the UK, to meet the needs of the British Armed Forces.”