An award-winning 77-year-old West Midland engineering company that had invested heavily in advanced plant and equipment is among the latest casualties of the recession.
Barton Cold-Form, a supplier to some major car makers, has gone into administration with the initial loss of 16 jobs.
Restructuring specialists from accountants BDO Stoy Hayward are continuing to operate the business while looking for a buyer.
The company, which had survived previous UK recessions thanks to its export base, is thought to have been brought down this time time by the global nature of the current downturn.
Barton Cold-Form is one of the world’s leading specialists in cold forming metal and alloy components such as fasteners, bolts, nuts, rivets and screws. The process cuts costs and waste and produces stronger, more reliable components.
The company operates from a £4?million, 53,000 sq ft factory at Stonebridge Cross Business Park in Droitwich.
Its customers have included General Motors, BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota and the company also has links with the construction, white goods and electrical sectors.
Founded in 1932 as the Barton Rivet Company, it was named after the Barton Arms pub in Aston, Birmingham, where its founders first met.
It was headed by Cyril L Field, described on the company’s website as a “prolific inventor with many patents to his name”.
These included the famous Fix-nut which was used extensively in the motor industry for more than 50 years “without a single reported failure”.
Barton’s first factory was a converted chapel in Constitution Hill, Birmingham. It was renamed Barton Cold-Form in 1959 and moved to a site in Kidderminster Road, Droitwich, the same year.
It changed hands in a management buy-out in 1999 and by 2006 had tripled its turnover to nearly £9?million.
The company moved to its present factory in 2006, at which time it employed 125 people and was investing millions of pounds in new equipment. Headcount had fallen to 85 by the time it went into administration on Tuesday.
Barton Cold-Form won the Birmingham Post Business Award in September 2006.
Managing director Paul Denning said at the time: “We are very proud of our new factory. Many people are surprised that we are investing when so many manufacturers are closing down.”
Investment in new machines was supported by grants from Advantage West Midlands and Accelerate, the automotive supply chain support organisation run by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The company won the Large SME Award at the 2004 Accelerate Awards.
Joint administrator Kim Rayment, a business restructuring partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said yesterday: “Barton Cold-Form Limited has been impacted both by the economic downturn and a significant reduction in sales.
“Regrettably, we have had to make 16 staff redundant following a review upon appointment.
“We are now working to sell the business as a going concern.”