Wales

Port Talbot steel firm Fairwood closes and 66 jobs go

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Media captionChairman Gherold Davies called the closure "heartbreaking"

An engineering firm with strong links with the steel industry has ceased trading, with the loss of 66 jobs.

Fairwood Fabrications, based in Port Talbot, has been involved in the steel industry for more than 35 years.

Jobs have been lost since its financial problems began in January, when 250 people were employed there, and it has now gone into liquidation.

The Welsh Government said it was "not an entirely unexpected announcement" given the situation the industry faced.

The company had supplied Tata Steel and was involved in making steel buildings and other products.

There is a meeting of creditors in Swansea next week, called by a firm of insolvency practitioners.

The company approached the Welsh Government last month asking for £200,000 to help it restructure the company into a smaller operation to tide it over. But that money was not agreed.

Chairman Gherold Davies said the business had been started by his father 37 years ago "and it was like a death in the family".

"It's a really sad day," he added.

The company had a £16m turnover and in the last four years has been worth £38m in wages to the local economy.

It had a 24-hour call-out maintenance contract with Tata and had also helped build its new £185m blast furnace, which started up in 2013.

Mr Davies said the problems were related to the troubles in the steel industry but also the company had been hopeful of work with the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, only for the project to be delayed.

The company had written to the then UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid about its concerns for the steel industry and the tidal lagoon project.

Mr Davies said he believed the company could come back but believes the tidal lagoon project is vital.

"It would regenerate the area straight away, just look at the facilities we've got here, it's on the doorstep," he said.

"We weren't on our own in wanting the tidal lagoon to happen. It's so frustrating with the Government. I think there's been an awful lot happening with Brexit, all these different things have had a detrimental effect on people being able to move forward."

"Tidal lagoon is the future of the industry within south Wales and the technology. Something like that would be immense to the area."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This is sad news for Port Talbot, and especially for the workers and their families."

The spokesman said the Welsh Government had been in discussion with Fairwood Fabrications "for some months regarding their position" and provided support "where possible".

"Fairwood approached Welsh Government in June for £200,000, however we felt unable to provide further financial support given the information provided by the company," he said.

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