Carr's Milling, the listed agricultural group best known for flour, has acquired an engineering company which makes components for Formula 1 carmaker McLaren.

Carr's will pay up to £5.3 million to bring Chirton Engineering, a sub-contractor in precision components, into its engineering division.

Carr's, which has a ­significant presence in Scotland, says Chirton provides value-added manufacturing and services to businesses operating in offshore oil and gas manufacturing, and has a global customer base including IHC Merwede, Oceaneering, and Proserv Offshore. "It recently expanded into component manufacturing for high-end motor manufacturers such as McLaren as part of a strategy of collaborative innovation with its core customer base," the company said.

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Carr's will pay £2.75m in cash upfront for Chirton, which employs 52 people in North Shields on Tyneside, with a further £2.55m subject to an earn-out over the next five years.

Tim Davies, chief executive, said: "We are thrilled to be acquiring Chirton Engineering. The business and its management team are recognised in their industry and Chirton is renowned for delivering quality product innovation to its customers.

"The business will contribute to the ongoing development of our innovation programme within our engineering division."

Carr's shares lifted 33p to 1601p, valuing the business at £139m. They are now up 60% over 12 months, though in February touched 1915p.

The Cumbria-based group opened a new flour mill at Kirkcaldy last September after a £17m investment, and has told investors that it is beginning to see financial and commercial benefits from "a state-of-the-art-mill in a prime location".

Carr's said in January that sales volumes across its three mills in Essex, Cumbria and Fife were ahead of last year. Its retail division expects to open a new country store at Annan in Dumfries and Galloway in the summer, adding to a Scottish presence which includes Ayr-based animal supplements business ­Scotmin Nutrition and retailer AC Burn. Pre-tax profits rose 21.5% to a record £15.9m last year.