Tool firm collapse puts jobs at risk

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The Independent Online

Eliza Tinsley, a West Midlands tool and garden equipment maker which traces its history to 1851, yesterday lost its battle to stave off administration, putting 980 jobs at risk.

Shares in Tinsley, which bears the name of the company founder, were suspended on the Alternative Investment Market on Tuesday after its directors, led by the chief executive Andrew Hall and chairman Michael Borlenghi, admitted to a cash crisis and held talks with the company's lenders. But its banks - listed as Barclays, Bank of Scotland and Fortis in one City directory - were unwilling to put up more money and Ernst & Young was appointed as administrator yesterday.

David Duggins, the joint administrator at E&Y's Birmingham office, said: "The group of companies has an extensive blue-chip client base and boasts some world-class manufacturing facilities. We are continuing to trade the businesses with a view to finding a buyer and early indications show that there is interest from several parties."

Tinsley has been hit by the downturn in consumer spending and the rapid rise in the cost of raw materials such as steel. It reported a first-half loss of £551,000 in December, citing the malaise in the engineering industry. It has seven factories in the UK, the US and Italy.