Buyer sought for troubled firm

THE administrator of one of East Anglia's biggest engineering firms said he hopes to find a buyer for the business and protect hundreds of jobs in Lowestoft.

THE administrator of one of East Anglia's biggest engineering firms said he hopes to find a buyer for the business and protect hundreds of jobs in Lowestoft.

Stephen Oldfield of PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed as administrator at SLP last Friday after months of speculation about the firm's future and a multi-million dollar legal dispute over a Middle East oil deal.

Though 45 management jobs were lost on Friday, about 700 jobs are safe until SLP completes a separate major project for BP next spring.

Mr Oldfield said talks were continuing with other SLP customers in the hope of persuading them to continue with their projects.


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Asked if he expected a single buyer for SLP - which also has operations in Tyneside, Blackpool and New Malden - Mr Oldfield said: "The business based in Blackpool - the precast business which makes sea defences - I think that will be sold separately.

"The remainder of the business has two main facets to it: oil and gas, and wind energy.

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"I think the attraction of Lowestoft in relation to the southern North Sea and, in particular, wind energy in the medium to long term means I would expect to see buyers looking at both activities in the town - both oil and gas and wind energy."

Earlier this year, SLP chief executive David Edwards said that the company's order book accounted for 3,000 jobs in the wider engineering and energy sector in East Anglia. The firm has grown to become one of Lowestoft's biggest private sector employers since starting out in 1970.

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