Engineering firm SLP in administration
Paul Hill, business editor One of East Anglia's biggest engineering firms, SLP, has gone into administration, the EDP has learned.The directors of SLP, which employs close to 700 people at its Lowestoft headquarters, called in the administrators today after weeks of speculation about the firm's future.
Paul Hill, business editor
One of East Anglia's biggest engineering firms, SLP, has gone into administration, the EDP has learned.
The directors of SLP, which employs close to 700 people at its Lowestoft headquarters, called in the administrators today after weeks of speculation about the firm's future.
Forty-five management jobs have been lost "with immediate effect" - though the administrators said a "significant proportion" of the workforce would be kept on to complete a major contract.
Stephen Oldfield, joint administrator at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said SLP had been "embroiled in a significant contractual dispute" with one customer - and that "in the absence of any clear prospect of resolution, the SLP board concluded they were left with no option than to invite the appointment of administrators".
Mr Oldfield said: "The directors have been exploring a number of options for the business over several weeks but were unable to find a solution.
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"Consequently they had no alternative but to invite my appointment.
"However extensive discussions with one of SLP's current major customers have concluded with agreement to fund continued work on that contract through to completion in Spring 2010. This agreement provides a significant proportion of SLP's workforce with continuing paid work and subcontractors and suppliers to that contract have and will similarly continue to be paid."
Mr Oldfield said talks were under way with other customers about continuing their contracts.
"These ongoing discussions with other customers will not be easy, but if negotiations are successful the company will be able to continue to employ even more of the workforce," he added.
"We will be discussing the position with the workforce, employee representatives and unions so they are kept abreast of the position as customer discussions unfold in the coming days.
"Alongside these customer and employee discussions, I will also be focusing on a sale of the remainder of the group to seek to try to secure the long term future of the business".
"However, with SLP's prospective customer base being aware of its significant contractual dispute, the level of new work at SLP in recent months has been significantly reducing. Whilst we have been successful in securing one major customer and hope shortly to secure others, we have unfortunately been left with no choice but to reduce the management staffing at Lowestoft by 45 with immediate effect."
* See tomorrow's EDP for the full story.