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Fear for jobs as firm goes under.

Byline: Alan Plews

The future of more than 100 workers in the region was uncertain today after a car parts company went into administration.

Vickers Pressings Tolwood Automotive (VPTA) employs 111 at Newton Aycliffe, 195 at Newcastle, and 61 at depots in the Midlands.

VPTA makes products from small fasteners to large pressings and assemblies for use in UK car production and overseas markets.

No-one at the company was available for comment today but a spokesman for Leeds-based administrators KPGM said it was hoped a buyer could be found for the business.

Joint administrator Richard Fleming said: "VPTA has been operating in a very challenging environment with very tight margins and the administration results from such business difficulties. The business is continuing to trade and we hope to sell it as a going concern."

In February Tolwood, of Newton Aycliffe, and Vickers Pressings, of Newcastle, combined to form VPTA - one of the region's largest privately owned metal pressing companies.

It was hoped the move would increase the combined turnover from pounds 26m to pounds 50m by 2007 and it was hailed by Geoff Marshall, Tolwood chief executive, as "a fantastic development" for the two companies.

He said at the time that the scope provided by the merger, both in terms of the combined skilled workforce and production capacity, meant VPTA would be able to better compete with some of the larger automotive suppliers.

He was also confident that with a trading partner in Asia, Unistrong-Taiwan, VPTA would be able to meet global challenges.

Companies in the automotive supply and metal manufacturing sectors have been experiencing tough trading conditions.

In February Pressworks Metals, of Newton Aycliffe, closed with the loss of 110 jobs. It went into administration on October 1 blaming rising steel costs among its problems.

Hopes of finding a buyer failed after customers withdrew their support.

In the same month components manufacturer Elring Klinger moved work abroad from its Redcar plant with the loss of 60 jobs - a third of its workforce.
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Title Annotation:Business Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2005
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