Bonds Foundry went into administration in December, but administrators Deloitte kept a skeleton workforce of 23 people to keep operations active until a buyer could be found.
Bonds, which was founded in Tow Law in 1868, makes high integrity alloy castings. It also owns a precision foundry in Alston and a heavy foundry in Scunthorpe and jobs there are also under threat.
Rob Yorke, managing director of Bishop Auckland-based Teescraft Engineering, looked into the possibility of buying two of the three sites.
Mr Yorke, who is also a Durham county councillor, said: “We did make an offer for Bonds Crook and Alston with a view to keeping both sites open. We understood both sites combined employed around 100 people.
"With our Stockton machine shop we can machine parts up to 20 tonne, so we saw Bonds in Crook and Alston as an ideal fit – with a modern facility and highly skilled workforce as well as an existing customer order book. Many of their clients are our clients as well so it would be a no brainer.”
The Teescraft Group employs more than 200 people with an annual turnover of £35m. It has an aluminium foundry in the Midlands and a cast iron foundry in Stockton as well as two machine shops in Ashington, one in Stockton another in Thornaby and another at its headquarters in Bishop Auckland.
Administrators Deloitte has confirmed it could not agree on terms and talks to buy the two sites have ceased.
In a statement, Deloitte said: “The joint administrators had received an offer for certain assets of Bonds Foundry Company Ltd and Bonds Precision Castings Ltd that was, in principle, acceptable to them and this offer had been actively pursued over the last few weeks. However, unfortunately terms could not be agreed and, regrettably, discussions have ceased."
Deloitte said it was "open to further offers" but added: "As activity levels are reducing, they have begun preparation work for the future closure of these operations. Regretfully, a small number of redundancies have been made. "The joint administrators continue to provide support for the affected employees during this difficult time.”
Source: Richard Bellis, thenothernerecho.co.uk