Jobs to go at Jex Engineering as time is called on ‘home’ town base
END OF AN ERA: Jex's current location, top, with Tony Jex and the former premises, bought out a decade ago.
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 5 Dec 2017
ALMOST 45 years of engineering presence in Grimsby is understood to be coming to a close as Jex Engineering pulls out of the town, with the loss of 12 jobs.
It is understood employees were told of the site’s fate last week, following a consultation period.
Founded in 1973 by Tony Jex, the business was bought out a decade ago by Wakefield-headquartered Redhall Group, who retained the name.
After a strong start with robust results, it has significantly scaled down in the town in recent years, transferring main operations to the Manchester site, with a further base in the West Midlands.
Both locations were already operated prior to the £11.9 million deal completing, supporting huge blue chip names in the food industry, such as Kellogg’s and Cadbury.
Jex also has staff based on client sites, and it is understood two of the 14 employees that remain, are relocating to Nestle in York. It is believed the remainder will leave the business once current projects come to a close in coming months.
Business leaders from the Jex locations and London Stock Exchange-listed Redhall Group have not been available for comment, despite repeated attempts in recent days.
Following the buy-out in 2007, strong annual reports were posted for 2008 and 2009, but it is understood the business became exposed when a strategy of pursing large contracts for major investments was hit by customers battening down the hatches to weather the economic storm. It had also widened scope to align with Redhall’s other business, entering energy, power and defence markets.
At the time of the deal, Jex employed 220 people, a number now halved according to the firm’s website, with a significant restructure having taken place in late 2010.
Out of the recession senior managers from the West Marsh giant emerged in new or rapidly growing Grimsby businesses, such as Allied Protek and Intelect, both of which have significantly expanded as Jex contracted, serving the same market.
It had moved from the huge dual-fronted facility stretching from Adam Smith Street to Armstrong Street to a small workshop on South Humberside Industrial Estate in 2015, with Protek, a business run by the man who took the helm following Mr Jex’s departure – Paul Wilson – acquiring the former base and refurbishing it in a £1.9 million project that completed earlier this year.
Redhall Group’s share price is currently at a virtual year-low, with a profit warning having been posted in October due to significant delays in nuclear and major infrastructure projects across other areas of the group.
In 2015 it also mothballed an offshore oil and gas fabrication business as the sector’s downturn took its toll there, announcing it was to close that back in October also. Annual results for the year that ended in September, are anticipated tomorrow.
Jex has always been food predominantly, with pharmaceuticals and chemical processing mirroring the town’s key sectors, and the last statement issued to investors underlined a significant contract win in food.
One Grimsby employee, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Everybody is really shocked. Redhall Group bought out Tony Jex, and from then to now, it has been an absolute pig’s ear. I think this decision has been made on the back of a bad year for the group. It is a crying shame and the end of an era.”
He said staff have been told the branch is no longer profitable, but claimed one European project was keeping half the workforce busy until March, with a further £300,000 to £400,000 of work in the pipeline locally.
It is understood clients have been informed of the decision to close the branch.
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