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Rescue deal saves 137 jobs at Willenhall firm

Walsall | News | Published:

More than 130 jobs have been saved at a Willenhall firm in a rescue deal that will see £4 million pumped back into the business.

Laidlaw Architectural Ironmongery and its Balustrading Solutions sister business, both in Strawberry Lane, had been dragged into administration by the collapse of their parent group Laidlaw Interiors just before Christmas.

It left 137 workers in Willenhall fearing for their futures.

They all returned to work after the Christmas break on Monday to the news that 400 of their colleagues at a sister firm in Derby had been laid off after administrators from Deloitte had been unable to find a buyer.

But the Willenhall company is to get a fresh lease of life after being bought by Intrinsic Equity, the investment arm of Birmingham-based corporate finance group Orbis Partners.

The majority of the trade and assets of Laidlaw Architectural Ironmongery and Balustrading Solutions has been sold to an unconnected newly formed company.

The business, which has made door handles and plates for the building industry for more than 140 years, is also benefitting from £4m in investment from Intrinsic Equity and Leumi ABL.

James Grenfell, principal at Intrinsic Equity, said: "Laidlaw is a fantastic business that has suffered largely as a result of significant ongoing losses in Leaderflush Shapland, a sister division within the group.

"The core business has always been profitable and provides a great platform for us to focus on Laidlaw's strong brand recognition and ability to deliver complex ironmongery solutions."

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The new owners said the Willenhall business boasted a turnover of £20m last year and generated a profit of more than £500,000. The business employs 137 people across eight sites in UK who have all transferred across to the new business.

Willenhall Councillor Sean Coughlan today welcomed the news.

"This is very pleasing news," he said. "I don't personally know anyone who works there but I am sure that people from Willenhall do work there. Any job saved in this economic climate is great news as these are really tough times.

"I've been made redundant twice in my lifetime and it's not a pleasant experience so I am pleased for these workers and wish them all the best."

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