Tyne & Wear

AEI Cables: 185 to go as Birtley firm ceases production

AEI Cables
Image caption AEI Cables in Durham Road, Birtley, Gateshead, has been running for 175 years

A cable company which claimed to be the oldest in the world is to shut down with the loss of 185 jobs.

AEI Cables in Durham Road, Birtley, Gateshead, which has been in operation for 175 years, entered a 45-day consultation in September.

A letter sent to employees said attempts to find a buyer had failed and that contracts had been terminated.

A firm spokesman said 40 workers would finish in March, but that 13 people would carry on working for the firm.

He added that the saved jobs were in sales and administration and where they would be based had yet to be decided.

In September, the company began a 45-day consultation with its then-240 staff.

Some subsequently left, and of the 198 remaining, most have had their contracts terminated and will leave by Friday.

The letter said: "Despite significant investment in the plant over the last two and a half years, the required profitable production levels have not been achieved to make the operation financially viable.

"Sadly neither of the two offers to buy the company were viable options and the company was not able to take either of them further.

"Without a buyer, we deeply regret the manufacturing operations in Birtley will have to cease."

The firm has made cables for many uses including for the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier Programme, Manchester Airport and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Managers had been hoping to sell the factory or operate it as a sales and distribution centre.

Its parent company Ducab group said last year the site was making significant losses.

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