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Rescued firm goes for rapid growth.

Byline: By Howard Walker

The new owner of a County Durham car parts maker is planning to win at least pounds 2m of extra business for the company after bringing it out of administration in a move saving more than 100 jobs.

London engineering investor Vincent Bootes is also planning to boost the 107-strong workforce at the renamed Tolwood Technologies in Newton Aycliffe after buying the business for an undisclosed sum.

Tolwood was previously part of Vickers Pressings Tolwood Automotive (VPTA), formed by the merger of Tolwood with Newcastle's Vickers Pressings this year, but which went into administration last month with the initial loss of 14 jobs. Mr Bootes predicted "a very good future" for Tolwood Technologies and is aiming for major expansion of the business, a key Nissan supplier which turned over about pounds 15m last year.

He said: "I have known Tolwood for a long time and it is recognised throughout the automobile industry as a major tier-one supplier. It was always a very attractive part of VPTA, it has all the right quality standards, good local staff and good room for growth.

"There is a good reason for expanding the site at Newton Aycliffe and a good reason for expanding the Nissan business and work for other automotive clients. The company has come out of administration very well with no further job losses and over the coming weeks we are looking to recruit more people to the site."

A new finance director has already been installed with another five to 10 senior appointments likely over the next few weeks.

More staff will be taken on after the New Year as Tolwood looks to expand its order book quickly.

Mr Bootes said: "There are good opportunities for people from the top to the bottom of the company.

"We are targeting pounds 2m-worth of new business in the first quarter, mostly from a diversity of what is currently undertaken and from looking to grow the business with existing customers."

About half Tolwood's current output of automotive pressings are bought by Nissan and Mr Bootes sees scope for increasing business with the Japanese group as well as moving into other markets.

Administrators KPMG believe they can now conclude a successful sale of Vickers Pressings in Newcastle soon, saving about 150 jobs.

Richard Fleming, joint administrator and partner at KPMG Corporate Recovery, said: "We are delighted to have concluded a sale of the Newton Aycliffe part of the VPTA business, particularly as we have been able to protect so many jobs in the process.

"We continue to negotiate with those parties who are interested in purchasing the remaining parts of the business and are confident of concluding a deal in the near future."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 19, 2005
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