Glimmer of hope for Remploy workers as bids are received

Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven.

Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven.

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THE Remploy factories in Leven and Cowdenbeath have both received “viable bids” from interested parties, throwing workers a glimmer of hope they may remain open.

The board of the disabled workers firm, which put the Fife sites up for sale in December 2012, has announced it has received an undisclosed number of bids for the Fife factories - part of Remploy’s marine textile business - which met its criteria.

The board has now invited bidders to submit best and final offers for these businesses and sites.

Individuals or organisations who submit successful best and final offers will then be appointed as preferred bidders and will enter into detailed negotiations and due diligence.

Where negotiations are successful the company aims to complete transactions before mid August.

There is however no guarantee that the bids will lead to successful transfers of ownership. The continued employment of disabled people is a key part of the criteria for a successful sale.

A Remploy spokesman added the board hopes to make a further announcement on preferred bidders in July 2013.

Of the news Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy, who has helped lead a campaign to save the factories, said it would give the workforces some hope for the future.

“I have been pressing the Government to reveal exactly how many expressions of interest there have been and just last week I again wrote to the minister for disabled people Esther McVey to express my concern at the delay,” Mr Roy added.

“We still do not know how many bids there have been for the Remploy marine business in Fife, but at least we do know that someone is interested in taking over what is a potentially successful operation.

“I hope that further details about the expressions of interest will become clear in due course.

“In the meantime, I am sure that the 65 workers at Leven and Cowdenbeath will welcome the news and hope that the final bid in mid-August will lead to a successful transfer of ownership, retaining as many disabled people as possible in employment.”

As well as the factories in Leven and Cowdenbeath other sites in Porth, Heywood, Clydebank, Stirling, Dundee, Portsmouth, Burnley, Sunderland and Norwich have also received viable bids.

The Remploy Board however announced its automotive textiles business was not the subject of a viable offer before the completion of its initial bids process, which ended on March 28. This means its Huddersfield factory will now close.