Birmingham-based smallcap engineer Widney had some good news yesterday when it reported improved performances across all of its continuing operations.

Widney had a torrid 12 months since putting its Northampton-based vehicle cabs business into administration. The decision was triggered when Caterpillar, a major customer, switched production to France. Chairman Joe Grimmond later offered a heartfelt apology to the 450 workers that Widney declared redundant and to the company' creditors.

The decision by a major multi-national to switch production to another country was "undeserved ill reward" for Widney's efforts in transforming a loss-making operation into a profitable, quality, full-trim cab supplier, Mr Grimmond said in the last annual results statement last summer.

Widney, which lost some £3 million on the cabs business closure, later took another hit when it stopped manufacturing automotive press tools at its Belcot Tool & Die operation in Brownhills.

As part of a major restructuring exercise, it decided to develop another Northampton operation, Widney Pressings, as a core element of its automotive presswork and construction equipment components business.

In a statement at the company's annual meeting Mr Grimmond said: "The focus on operational efficiencies and new business activities continues and is reflected in an improved performance across the group's continuing operations."