A Worcester-based Jaguar supply firm which was planning to move to purpose-built offices in Longbridge has collapsed with the loss of nearly 70 jobs.

Excel Automation, which supplied automated materials handling equipment for the Midland car-maker, has now ceased trading and 69 employees have been made redundant after administrators were called into the firm.

The privately-owned company had an annual turnover in excess of £9 million, but administrators said it had been caught out by the downturn.

BDO business restructuring partners Jo Wright and Kim Rayment are handling the case.

Ms Wright said: “It is unfortunate that the economic climate and difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the industry.”

Excel, which also worked with the nuclear, food and beverage, warehouse and distribution and aerospace sectors, had been instrumental in helping Jaguar overcome production challenges in the manufacture of its latest XJ.

Together with Jaguar, Excel developed an automated conveying and handling system which allowed the car firm to position and bond the car’s “panoramic” reinforced glass roof.

Before its demise, Excel was planning to move from its Worcester base, where it had been for 18 years, to purpose-built 50,000 sq ft of accommodation at the Cofton Centre in Longbridge, a 35-acre regeneration site on the former home of carmaker Rover.

Just three weeks ago the company said it was planning to go ahead with the move, which it said was prompted by the high costs it would have to pay to stay in Worcester.

Excel, which was founded in 1976, was originally based in Castle Bromwich where it became a major supplier to the FATA Automation Group throughout the eighties and nineties.

It was subsequently bought out by FATA, after which it moved to Worcester, before a management buy-out in 1995 saw a number of executives acquire the rights to the Excel Automation designs and patents.