Up to 300 jobs could be at risk after a West Midlands ceramic heater company collapsed.
Ceramaspeed, based in Kidderminster, went into administration after seeing its market freeze up because of the slump in consumer demand.
The £46 million company, which has its headquarters in Oldington in the town, manufactures ceramic hobs for some of the biggest names in kitchen appliances, and eventually expanded into the US and Poland.
But now it has announced the appointment of Nigel Morrison and Neil Tombs, of business and financial advisors Grant Thornton, as joint administrators for the UK wing of the company.
They said their priority was to find a buyer and continue to run the business as a going concern, but there were no guarantees on the security of the jobs there.
Mr Tombs said: “We’re currently finalising the trading strategy and have received interest from a number of parties. It’s too early to speculate on possible job losses however we are consulting with the employees in Kidderminster.
“Ceramaspeed has fallen victim to the tough economic climate hitting companies across the world. Demand has fallen both in Europe and the US, and unfortunately the company was unable to resize quickly enough to be able to cope with the fall.
“We’re feeling positive that we will be able to secure a future for the business and run it as a going concern, although in the current climate, there are no guarantees. Ceramaspeed has subsidiaries in the US and Poland which are not in administration and continuing to operate as normal.”
Ceramaspeed was founded in 1973 by scientist and entrepreneur Joseph McWilliams, an inventor in the field of nuclear physics. Over the past 30 years the company has developed a reputation for pioneering developments in material technology and product innovation.
The company has seen difficulties this year as the demand for white goods has dropped because of the slump in the property market both in the UK and the US.
Earlier this year the company said it was planning to move production to Poland to save money, leaving just 100 people in Kidderminster. It blamed its difficulties on the high cost of manufacturing in Britain compared to Eastern Europe, and said it needed to remain competitive after a number of competitors had already transferred their production overseas.
The news came as the UK’s manufacturing saw its biggest drop for nearly three decades, after output fell 1.4 per cent in October, more than expected.
The performance in October was the eighth successive month of decline, bringing the sector down to its lowest level since 1980, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It means annual output is now down 4.9 per cent overall after September’s figures were also revised lower.