21st Oct, 2017

Future of historic Leamington firm secured

Leamington Editorial 11th Dec, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE of an historic Leamington motor parts manufacturer has been secured – saving all 89 jobs.

Caparo Vehicle Technologies – the direct descendant of Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Co, which became Automotive Products in the 1930s, and which was the town’s largest employer for many years – has been bought along with nine other businesses by the Gupta family, whose interests include the SIMEC and Liberty House groups.

The businesses, including Tachbrook Road-based Caparo Vehicle Technologies, were arms of Caparo industries – which had interests in steel, engineering and the production of motor parts. Sixteen Caparo businesses in the West Midlands went into administration in October putting an estimated 1,700 jobs at risk.

Administrators PwC were confident of finding buyers, particularly for the strong performing motor parts arms of Caparo, and immediately received a lot of interest.

Matthew Hammond, PwC Midlands Region Chairman and Caparo lead administrator, told The Observer: “We are delighted to have completed the sales, it is great news for the Midlands and the key manufacturing sites, particularly with so many skilled staff in these industries being given security at this time of year.

“This has been a complex and challenging assignment given the size and number of the business operations. Only by working alongside the talented Caparo people have we been able to achieve this result.

“Throughout what has been a difficult time, PwC has remained committed to achieving the goals of the administration: to keep the business going and find the best solution for staff and creditors.

“In particular the supply chain can also now look forward to 2016 with a good deal more certainty with these businesses in the hands of an experienced investor across these sectors. We thank the customers and suppliers who have supported the businesses over the last eight weeks. ”

Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White welcomed the news.

He told The Observer: “I am delighted with this news, which is a testament to the skilled workforce at Caparo.  “Our region is the heartland of manufacturing in the UK and Caparo, with its local heritage, is an important part of the sector locally, not least as a vital component of the supply chain.  I am pleased that this has been resolved now and congratulate all parties involved.”

Caparo Vehicle Technologies – a supplier to Jaguar Land Rover among others – had developed, designed, and manufactured brakes for everything from motorsport to luxury road cars, off roaders to low carbon and electric vehicles.

The history of the firm could be traced back to the setting up of the Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Company in 1920.

During the Second World War the factory employed some 10,000 and worked round the clock making components for armaments and aircraft.

From the 1960s imports of cheaper foreign cars hit the firm hard. AP as it was known to townspeople employed around 5,500 people in the mid 1970s, but the number steadily dwindled over the ensuing decades.

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