Business as usual for SLP Engineering

The boss of a Lowestoft-based offshore engineering company has insisted it is business as usual despite its parent company going into administration.

Dutch-based Smulders Group, which bought SLP Engineering out of administration in 2010, has blamed heavy losses on two North Sea wind-energy projects, and the company is now in negotiations with banks and shareholders to avoid bankruptcy.

SLP Engineering Ltd's managing director, Paul Thomson, said his company was outside the banking facilities of parent Smulders Group and SLP had a healthy bank account.

But SLP is in talks with Smulders Group's administrators and substantial players in the industry to find a new parent company.

The setback comes just two years after SLP itself went into administration, forcing it to lay off hundreds of workers.

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Since it was bought out of administration by Smulders Group in August 2010 the company has successfully won contracts and currently has a forward order book of �50m.

Mr Thomson said that fact that SLP Engineering had not 'aligned' its banking facilities to Smulders Group's after the takeover had worked in its favour.

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He added: 'We are taking business as usual. We have three contracts in the yard and we have support from all these clients. There is no direct effect from that process. We have control of our banking facilities. We have a healthy account. We have a �50m order book and work going to 2014. Our clients want to continue working with us. We've talked to them at a very senior level from a projects and corporate point of view.'

But he said that SLP, like other divisions of Smulders Group, were looking to their own future.

He added: 'From a future point of view we depend on a strong parent company for tendering and providing bonds. This needs sorting out sooner rather than later. It is uncertain in terms of how long it takes to sort it out. There are discussions going on with the administrator concerning interested parties.'

But he insisted: 'It is early days in that process. There are negotiations going on at the group level with sub-stantial players within the industry.'

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