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19 jobs lost as second Stanref rescue bid fails

Stanref products are used in HMS Queen Elizabeth''Photo: MoD/LPhot Sean Gascoigne
Stanref products are used in HMS Queen Elizabeth''Photo: MoD/LPhot Sean Gascoigne

The engineering company Stanref closed last Thursday, after 29 years in Bury St Edmunds , with a loss of 19 jobs.

The company in Northern Way called in administrators on March 5 for the second time in five months, but time was running out with the factory lease due to expire in May.

Jo Watts, senior manager of administrations at McTear Williams Wood, of Norwich, said: “There was some interest from companies who could move the equipment into their own premises, but nothing came of that.

“The company was doing everything it could to find premises but there wasn’t enough time.

“We’ve ended up closing the company down, which is a shame because it’s products were well thought of in the industry. We’ve finished as many custom projects as we can. The next step will be the equipment being auctioned off in April by George Hazell in the factory.”

Steve Bickerstaff, Stanref engineering manager, said: “We would like to thank all of those who have tried to support us, especially family and friends.

“Most importantly, I would like to praise all the workers at Stanref, leaving dignified, with kind hearted banter and goodwill among us.”

He said the average staff length of service was 25 years. Stanref’s products are in the Royal Navy’s new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Standard Refrigeration (Chicago) opened the Bury factory in 1989 to make its standard range of pressure vessels and heat exchangers.

The final five-strong management team were in a management buy-out in 2001 and moved it into specialist pressure vessels for the oil and gas industry but as they paid of purchase debts in 2008 the global economic crisis hit.

They cut staff from 36 to 24 and went into administration in October 2017, to be quickly taken over by venture capital company Damsle LLP who Mr Bickerstaff says, pulled out after the costs of a factory move became apparent.