Hopes raised for redundant workers after engineering firm saved from closure

Foodmek in Tayport shut its doors in October but new owners are looking to take on staff who were told they had lost their jobs.

A Fife engineering firm has been saved from closure just weeks after going into liquidation.

Foodmek in Tayport shut its doors in October, blaming ‘economic uncertainty’ and spiralling energy costs.

It’s now been taken over by Clydebank-based company Clyde Associated Engineers (CAE), which had been looking to expand to the east coast.

Foodmek, which has been an important employer in Tayport for more than 50 years, folded seven weeks ago and 32 redundancies were announced.

Lesley Cardiff, Clyde Associated Engineers Ltd finance director said: “Currently we have about ten of them back and we’re looking to take on, if any of the other guys want to come back, we’d take a look at that.

“It probably suits us to have ten to 15 to kick off with and hopefully try to ramp that up to the 30 that they had by the end of the year.

“We have so much work on the west coast that we need extra facility, more people, and we needed a base to expand to.”

Jim Carson has worked in the factory for 44 years and it’s more than just a job for him. At the age of 80, the firm’s collapse was hard to take.

“I didn’t take it awful well. They walked in with the liquidators and that was it,” Mr Carson told STV News.

“I could have been retired but I feel it should be me that decides when to retire – not anybody else. I’m very delighted to be back. I was getting fed up sitting about the house and the wife was getting fed up with me in her feet.”

The takeover has already sparked a wave of orders and the new owners are now contacting customers across the UK who had relied on Foodmek for spare parts and servicing.

Site manager Scott Holmes said: “It’s a big relief. Quite a lot of the guys have been (here) for a length of time and they question – because of age or just the environment – of how they would go on and where they would get to.

“But it’s been very uplifting and the support that we’ve had from customers and the new board of directors has been very encouraging.”

Lesley Cardiff, CAE’s finance director, said: “Tayport is an excellent base for our expanding operations. Through swift expansion, CAE has focused more predominantly on the drinks, water, pharmaceuticals and paper industries.   

“We believe that this increase in capacity and opportunity to provide a wider range of project packages to an increasing customer base will lead to further success.

‘We understand that this will have been a very worrying time for customers with Foodmek’s range of equipment. We will be in contact to offer total support and back up for the products they currently have, and we will prioritise any existing projects for completion.

“We are also totally committed to long-term support by way of spare parts supply and machine servicing and will be continuing with manufacturing a range of filling systems, offering sales and service backup.”

Shona Campbell, insolvency partner at Henderson Loggie, said: “We are pleased that we were able to find a such a well-matched buyer for Foodmek that will keep skilled jobs in the Tayport area. We wish CAE and its new employees all the best for the future.”

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