Vesuvius plc

Vesuvius plc is a British engineered ceramics company headquartered in London whose products are used by steelmakers and foundries as well as in the glass and solar energy industries. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Vesuvius plc
IndustryMaterials technology
HeadquartersLondon, UK
Key people
John McDonough, Chairman
Patrick André, CEO
Revenue £1,458.3 million (2020)[1]
£101.4 million (2020)[1]
£45.8 million (2020)[1]
Number of employees
10,496 (2021)[2]


The Vesuvius head office in Fleet Street

The company was founded by Isaac Cookson in 1704 as a collection of metal and glass businesses on Tyneside.[3] In 1851 the Company diversified into lead manufacturing. In 1924 it merged with Lock Lancaster and W.W. & R. Johnson & Sons to form Associated Lead Manufacturers. It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1930.[4] In 1966 it was renamed Lead Industries Group and in 1979 it acquired the A.J. Oster Company, a non-ferrous metal producer.[5] In 1982 it changed its name again to Cookson Group (reflecting the name of the company's founder)[4] and in 1987 it bought the Vesuvius Crucible Company, a ceramics supplier.[4]

Sir Robert Malpas was Chairman of the Group from 1991 to 1998, simultaneously serving as Co-Chairman of Eurotunnel from 1996 to 1998.[6] In 2005 the Cookson Group chose to focus on high technology products and emerging markets.[4] In 2008 it went on to acquire Foseco, a supplier to the foundry and steel industries.[7] In December 2012 Cookson Group changed its name to Vesuvius, the former performance materials division was demerged to form a new company called Alent and the name Cookson ceased to be used.[8][9]


The Company's operations are formed into four activities: Steel Flow Control, Foundry Technologies, Advanced Refractories and Precious Metals Processing.[10]


  1. "Preliminary Results 2020" (PDF). Vesuvius plc. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  2. "Overview". Vesuvius plc. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  3. "Isaac Cookson". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  4. Cookson Group History Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Richard M. Oster, chairman of Cookson Group, dies". Next Generation Communications. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  6. 'MALPAS, Sir Robert', in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2012)
  7. "Cookson to buy Foseco". Reuters UK. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. "Vesuvius". ADVFN. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  9. Super User. "Cookson becomes Vesuvius". Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  10. "Vesuvius - about us". Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.