Around 800 jobs are at risk after Covpress went into administration. Administrators from Grant Thornton have acted quickly to assure staff at the Canley car parts manufacturer that there are no immediate plans to make redundancies as they try to stabilise the firm.
The Coventry-based firm has been enjoying Growth since it was taken over by Chinese firm Shandong Yongtai in a £30 million deal in 2013 that was one of the biggest investments by a Chinese firm in UK industry at the time.
Covpress makes body panels for Jaguar Land Rover and Renault, among others, and exports parts across the world. The company’s website says that since the Chinese-led takeover, £25 million has been invested in the Canley plant in both machinery and extra staff, describing it as “a real success story”. Last year, the company also bought the nearby Honda supplier UYT, renamed Covpress Assembly, in a move that safeguarded 400 jobs at the time.
UK industrial production fell in August, official figures have shown, hitting the recent run of upbeat economic news. Industrial production fell by 0.4% between July and August, the Office for National Statistics said, partly due to a drop in oil and gas production. Manufacturing rose 0.2%, although this followed a steep fall in July.
The UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated at £4.7bn, compared with £2.2bn in July. The deficit on trade in goods alone widened by £2.6bn to £12.1bn. The widening deficit comes despite hopes that the weaker pound – which is currently trading at the lowest rate in more than three decades against the dollar – will boost demand for British goods.
Exports rose by just £100m against expectations of a £4bn increase. Imports, however, rose by £2.6bn in August following a slump In July.
ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said- “Manufacturing output was up slightly in August with more cars built, with limited evidence suggesting the lower pound boosted exports. “Nevertheless, this was offset by a fall in oil and gas production, with some field shutdowns contributing to the fall, meaning UK production as a whole was down. While exports continued to grow in August, the UK’s trade deficit widened, as imports grew at a faster rate.”
The UK’s manufacturing sector surged in September, growing at its fastest level since June 2014, a closely watched survey has indicated. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 55.4 in September from 53.4 In August. A figure above 50 Indicates expansion.
The weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote had continued to boost exports, the survey found.
‘The weak sterling exchange rate remained the prime growth engine, driving higher new orders from Asia, Europe, the US and a number of emerging markets,” said HIS Markit senior economist Rob Dobson. “The domestic market is also still supportive of growth, especially for consumer goods.”
Higher import costs as a result of the exchange rate had led to a further “substantial” increase in average purchase prices, with manufacturers passing on part of the rise to customers in the form of higher charges.