Jobs saved as part of threatened Northumberland company Opsol is sold

More than 20 jobs have been saved and the same number will be created after part of a Northumberland engineering group that fell into administration was sold to new owners.

Hindley Circuits, a new company formed by Opsol’s existing general manager, has acquired the trade and assets of Opsol UK, saving the jobs of 23 staff.

Cramlington-based Opsol, which works in electronic design, had faced an uncertain future after its parent company A-Belco went into administration with the loss of 80 jobs.

The new company will be lead by former Opsol general manager Richard Whitehead, who is aiming to double staffing levels within the next three years.

He will be backed by chairman Allan Cairns, plus non-executive directors Andrew Lapping and Chris Pennison.

Mr Whithead said: “Opsol UK was a superb business. In creating Hindley Circuits, we intend to preserve all that was good about Opsol whilst establishing a new, energetic and dynamic company that drives the business forward in partnership with our customers and financial partners.

“We are delighted to secure the employment of a great team of people. A customer of Opsol, Chris Pennison of Hyperdrive Innovations was influential in ensuring that this deal turned into reality. Chris made the introduction to Andrew Lapping that ensured we are where we are today.”

Mr Lapping, who is managing director of Edinburgh-based investment company The Hamilton Portfolio, said: “We were delighted to partner with Richard and his team to provide the necessary funding to make this transition happen.

“We intend to rapidly expand Hindley Circuits and our strategy is likely to involve an acquisition in the short term. As part of this process, I have asked Allan Cairns, ex CEO of Fabricom Offshore Services, to co-invest and chair the company, and further strengthened the team with the appointment of Chris Pennison as a non-executive director.”

DWF Newcastle acted for the investors in the transaction.

Four divisions of Ashington-based A-Belco went into administration earlier this month after the group was unable to recover from debts racked up in its construction wing.

Adminstrators Deloitte said the company had also suffered from its exposure to the oil and gas industry and was unable to raise external finance as part of a turnaround strategy.

The administration has led to 50 job losses, with 10 employees left to complete an orderly wind-down of the business. Around 30 jobs had already been lost when A-Belco’s construction division MEP Solutions went into administration in October.

A-Belco won the main prize at the North East Exporters’ Awards in 2014 and was on the Fastest 50 list of the region’s quickest growing companies as recently as 2015.

But its decline followed debts racked up from a major contract in Scotland, which the group tried to fill by diverting funds from other parts of the group.

BYGRAEME WHITFIELD

0

Start typing and press Enter to search