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Historic engine firm Lister in turmoil again

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 22, 2014

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Administrators have been called in at one of the West Country's most famous industrial companies.

Insolvency practitioners CBA were at the 150-year-old Lister Petter company in Dursley, near Stroud, yesterday.

The storied diesel engine factory has already shed 77 jobs in the past few months.

Trevor Hall, regional officer for the union Unite, said the only glimmer of hope was that at least it wasn't yet liquidation.

About 100 office and shop-floor employees were expected to be retained after the new round of probably 30 redundancies, he said.

Mr Hall, who had met the administrators, understood that CBA was trying to work out what there was to sell.

But the chances of finding a buyer within the timescale of perhaps only a fortnight were "at best 50-50", Mr Hall said.

"It is really sad, it is devastating," said Mr Hall who has himself lived in Dursley and worked at Lister Petter years ago. It has a £20million order book but what is the problem is the debts – who would want to buy it?"

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said he was very sorry for everybody who was going to lose their jobs.

But he warned: "If there is too much debt it is going to be problematic."

Councillor Geoff Wheeler, chairman of Stroud District Council, recently co-ordinated the launch of a multi-agency task force to tackle the total of 150 recent jobs losses in Cam, Dursley and Berkeley.

He said: "There is huge regret that these jobs have now been lost and sympathy for people being made redundant, and their families."

Mr Wheeler said Lister Petter was still a worldwide name and described the situation as a "great shame".

Lister Petter, which also has a global operations hub at Hardwicke, near Gloucester, was founded in 1867 when Robert Aston Lister began repairing farm machinery from a water mill in Dursley.

The firms's products were exported worldwide and the town's wealth throughout the 1960s and 70s was built on the firm, which in its heyday employed upwards of 3,000 people. In 1967, 10,000 people packed Dursley for a party to celebrate Lister's centenary.

No one from CBA was available for comment.

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