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Widney steps in to save 250 VPTA jobs.

About 250 jobs were safeguarded yesterday after a manufacturer of roof panels and boot lids for car giants such as Ford and Honda was rescued from administration by Birmingham company Widney.

Widney is paying less than pounds 2.3 million to buy the business and assets of Vickers Pressings from the administrator of parent firm VPTA.

Vickers has its biggest plant in Newcastle-upon-Tyne but also operates from another 78,000 sq ft site in Wolverhampton, serving customers that include Bentley and GKN.

Its product portfolio includes floor panels, door skins, bonnets and bumpers for the automotive sector and a range of hydraulic presses.

Accounts show the company had sales of pounds 9.7 million in the six months to July and made gross profits of pounds 1.8 million.

Vickers Pressings was established in 1956 and was part of the Vickers engineering group that was purchased by jet engine maker Rolls-Royce in 1999.

Derby-based Rolls-Royce sold VPTA at the end of January this year and the business was placed in administration a month ago.

Widney said the acquisition of Vickers Pressings reduced its dependence on the construction and agricultural markets.

In a statement, Widney said the deal also offset the impact of US industrial giant Caterpillar shifting production of aerial work platforms and telehandlers to North America.

The group added: 'The higher added value content of this business means that Widney has more than recovered the added value that will be lost from the third quarter of 2006 as a result of the sale of the Caterpillar telehandler division to JLG.

'With the ever-changing nature of the worldwide construction and agricultural markets Widney continues to seek opportunities to reduce its overall dependence on those markets.'

Widney's biggest division is based in Northampton making the cabs for large construction machinery, while its site in Birmingham makes sliding windows for off-road vehicles and sliding systems for ATMs.

Earlier this year Widney, which employs 350 people at its two sites in the Midlands, said it was ready to compete against 'almost suicidal competition' after a near fourfold increase in first half profits.

At the time chairman Joe Grimmond said: 'We are determined to defend our UK manufacturing.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 25, 2005
Words:364
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