China deal brings joy for Suffolk firm

THE “spectre” of reduced hours at one of Suffolk's biggest factories has been averted after an order was placed by a Chinese firm.

Laurence Cawley

THE “spectre” of reduced hours at one of Suffolk's biggest factories has been averted after an order was placed by a Chinese firm.

Struggling engineering firm Delphi in Sudbury had called on the Government for help after plummeting orders forced it to lay off 100 agency workers and draw up proposals for a shorter working week for its 800 remaining employees.

But it has now emerged the company, which makes diesel filters and injectors for trucks, has received a substantial order from a Chinese firm to make nozzles.

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Delphi bosses are keeping tight-lipped about the deal, including who it is with and how much it is worth. However, they have confirmed that the prospect of shortening its working week - and compulsory redundancies - has been removed in the near future.

Steve Coppock, human resources manager at the plant, said: “The company, based in China, has made an order with us to manufacture nozzles for a fuel injection system for use on their heavy goods vehicles. We were close to running out of options but now, in the short to medium term at least, the spectre of a shorter working week has been removed."

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“It just proves that our expertise is still recognised globally and even in these very difficult times we can still produce high quality products."

“We are not through the recession by any means and there is still a long way to go before we are out of this. But it does give us more time."

Delphi's managers met with South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo at the Sudbury factory in February to discuss the plight of the industry and the firm, whose parent company is in America.

Mr Yeo vowed to approach Lord Mandelson's office, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on the firm's behalf.

Mr Yeo said: “It is extremely good news and obviously I am delighted. I think it is very significant.

“Since I last spoke to them (Delphi employees) I have been to China and the news that business there is picking up is very important.

“I am not entirely surprised because although some businesses have been very badly hit, the HGV market is likely to recover more quickly than many others, such as the toy industry, because there is a cycle during which lorries have to be replaced.”

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