A West Midlands foundry established in Victorian times has collapsed – threatening dozens of jobs – after being hit by a downturn in orders.
Smethwick firm Gabriel & Company – which dates back to 1884 – called in administrators earlier this month after being hit by the costs associated with a move to new premises combined with a temporary downturn in orders.
The company employed about 30 members of staff prior to the collapse, and around a quarter have been made redundant, but a spokesman for administrator PKF said he was upbeat about the chances to find a buyer, and the firm was continuing to trade in the meantime.
The business was founded Percy Gabriel in 1884 and went on to build a reputation as a leading manufacturer of stainless steel castings and fabrications.
A PKF spokesman said administrators had been heartened by the loyalty shown by customers.
He said: “We are working with management to identify interested parties and we are encouraged by the interest that we have received.
"We are continuing to trade the business with the assistance of the company’s staff and the local customer base.”
Gabriel & Company turned over about £3 million last year and offers a range of services from alloy steel castings and machine castings for industry to a range of street furniture and handrails.
It was founded when Mr Gabriel purchased a small brass foundry business in AB Row, Birmingham, for the sum of £235 and began trading as Gabriel and Co. with 13 employees during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Gabriels began to specialise in the manufacture of fittings for tramways, buses and railways and also began to export to Africa, Asia and South America.
The firm invested £500,000 to move from Tyseley to Smethwick in 2010.