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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 06:42 GMT 07:42 UK

Business: The Company File

New home for fire-hit firm

The blaze cast doubt over the firm's future in Edinburgh

The owners of a manufacturing plant which was badly damaged by fire have confirmed they plan to stay in Edinburgh - but will move to a new location.

VA Tech Peebles Transformers Ltd is to switch its electrical equipment plant from the Pilton district to a site on dockland at Leith in a move which is expected to safeguard hundreds of jobs.

BBC Scotland's Morag Kinniburgh reports on the decision
The announcement follows several months of discussions with unions and enterprise agencies after the blaze in April, one of the biggest in the city for many years.

The Austrian-owned company later made 150 of the plant's 370 employees redundant.

But it is now thought that at least some of those who were to be made redundant are likely to be taken back on.

[ image: The fire caused extensive damage]
The fire caused extensive damage
A VA Tech spokesman said the decision to rebuild had been reached with support from local organisations.

He also indicated the move could lead to an increase in the size of the workforce, although it is still not clear whether it will mean more new jobs beyond the original workforce.

The blaze, which raged for five hours before being brought under control by 80 firefighters, destroyed the plant and much of the machinery and records.

It was so fierce that oil vats were still smoking a month later.

Roads were closed and hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes, causing traffic chaos in the north of Edinburgh.

No-one was hurt but there were concerns that the company, which had had a presence on the East Pilton site for nearly a century, might leave the city altogether.

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