Birmingham-based engineering group Widney announced yesterday that it is to stop manufacturing automotive press tools at its Belcot Tool & Die operation, based in Brownhills.

The company said the decision, which has resulted in the loss of 12 jobs, had been taken after a detailed assessment of the automotive tool and die market.

Widney said the move would help it realise about £800,000 of fixed and current assets for the benefit of the group.

Widney blamed the decision on falling demand for automotive press tool manufacturing and the switching of production to low cost countries abroad.

Belcot, based in Lichfield Road, contributed to group profits by £181,000 in the six months to March 31.

It will continue with low volume production presswork. The firm now employs less than 20 people.

The Widney group has been undergoing a major restructuring operation this year after encountering difficulties at several of its operations.

The year began badly with the closure of its Northampton-based cabs division and the loss of 450 jobs. The closure followed the loss of a major contract from Caterpillar when the heavy plant manufacturer opted to switch production to France.

The restructuring also saw the sale of Widney Pressings in April to Indian group AY Engineering for £1.4 million plus the sale of surplus plant and machinery for £750,000.

Widney UK continues to employ around 180 people at its site in Aston, which designs and manufactures window systems for specialist vehicles and telescopic slides.