More than 20 jobs at risk at engineering firm just months after £8m factory move

Representatives of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Proserv, New Anglia LEP and contractor Morgan Sin

Representatives of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Proserv, New Anglia LEP and contractor Morgan Sindall pictured earlier this year as the branding was completed on the outside of Artemis House. Picture: Maxim Photo/Michael Norman. - Credit: Archant

More than 20 jobs are at risk at an offshore engineering company based near Great Yarmouth – just five months after it opened an £8m new HQ.

Proserv has confirmed it has entered into a 30-day consultation period with affected staff after 'challenging market conditions' hit the company.

Twenty-two redundancies are expected to be made from the 165-strong workforce at its Artemis House premises at Beacon Park in Gorleston, which it moved into earlier this year.

The new-build factory space was part-funded by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which put in £4.5m and £1.8m respectively. Proserv put in £2m towards the fit-out requirements, which included a further £200,000 from the LEP, before starting a 20-year lease.

The company also completed a financial restructuring in May, which it said would make the company 'substantially debt-free' and with a strengthened balance sheet – but said it had now embarked on a review of operations from its base near Great Yarmouth.

A spokesman said: 'Proserv has entered into a consultation process with employees in Great Yarmouth and it is expected a small number of redundancies will be made.

'A careful and thorough review of operations is under way and we will do all that we can to support employees during this time.

'While a financial restructuring of the business has recently been completed, we are still responding to some challenging market conditions which have unfortunately impacted on short to medium term project requirements for our teams in Great Yarmouth.'

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Proserv employs around 165 people at its Beacon Park base, out of a total of 520 across the UK. When Artemis House was opened, it brought together 180 staff from smaller sites, with senior managers suggesting it would be give the company room to grow further in future.

The company provides a range of offshore engineering services primarily to the energy sector, including inspection, testing and assembly, manufacturing, installation and decommissioning.

New Anglia LEP chief executive Chris Starkie said the news was 'disappointing' but the LEP was confident Proserv's review would 'put it in a strong position to bounce back in the future'.

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: 'We are aware of the situation and are liaising with Proserv as in the normal course of business. Before entering into arrangements with Proserv, due diligence checks were undertaken and the company accounts were scrutinised by independent advisers.

'While we will continue to monitor the situation, and have asked that the company keep us informed of developments, we are well aware that the global energy industry as a whole still faces challenges and we are confident of Proserv's long-term commitment to Great Yarmouth, which was underlined by them investing in and taking a 20-year lease on a new global centre of excellence for control systems at Beacon Park.'

When Artemis House was opened in May, the council's political group leaders Graham Plant and Trevor Wainwright said jointly: 'Artemis House will ensure that these skilled jobs, mostly held by local people, will continue to be based within the borough, while generating rental income which is used to help support vital public services.'