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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 19:28 GMT
Minister asks for Simclar probe
Simclar Ayrshire
Simclar (Ayrshire) was closed with immediate effect last Monday
The deputy enterprise minister has asked the Department of Trade and Industry to investigate the closure of two factories in Ayrshire.

Simclar closed its plants in Irvine and Kilwinning with the loss of 420 jobs.

Allan Wilson said there were "unanswered questions" and asked for an investigation into events "including the transfer of assets and contracts".

The company said it believed its handling of a "very serious" financial situation would be vindicated.

Mr Wilson described the news to close the factories as a major blow for families and the wider Ayrshire economy.

He asked for the investigation after a meeting with the administrator, unions and local MSPs and MPs in Irvine.

Retraining opportunities

"There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding this company. We owe it to the workforce to get to the bottom of them," he said.

Mr Wilson said millions of pounds would be made available to help those workers affected to find alternative employment or retraining opportunities.

The minister added that the Scottish Executive would also ensure redundant workers receive any cash they are entitled to.

Simclar blamed the closure on competition from low cost economies and falling orders.

'Significant difficulties'

A spokesman said that the group had made "significant efforts" to keep the operation viable.

"Simclar Ayrshire had experienced significant difficulties and had lost several key contracts with major customers," he said.

"These losses - combined with competition from low-cost economies, rising raw materials costs and high fixed costs - meant the financial liabilities in Ayrshire were such that Simclar Group could not sustain them any longer.

"The company's handling of the very serious financial situation which we faced in Ayrshire will, we are sure, be vindicated during the administration process and any investigation mounted by third parties."

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