MORE than 100 North-East industrial firefighting jobs have been secured in a safety deal.

The Falck Group has bought Sembcorp Utilities UK’s asset protection and emergency response business as it looks to expand and create new posts.

The division operates across Teesside’s chemical sector, working with companies at Wilton, near Redcar, and Billingham, near Stockton.

Loading article content

Bosses say 109 jobs, including firefighters and emergency planning workers, who respond to fires and dangerous spillages, will move to Falck.

Sembcorp last year revealed it was looking for a buyer for its asset protection division as it carries out restructuring plans.

Falck already operates fire and rescue services for high-risk industries and airports around the world.

It also runs the world’s largest private firefighting company, with its safety and training base in Haverton Hill, Billingham, helping about 15,000 people through various courses, including offshore survival, helicopter underwater escapes and fire safety, every year.

Poul Mortensen, Falck’s executive vice president for its European emergency division, said the acquisition would allow the firm to continue its growth.

He said: “We are actively seeking to develop our industrial fire services business in the UK.

“This is central to our strategy and is a great platform for growth and job creation.”

Sembcorp bosses previously said they had to look at restructuring the business after being affected by factors including a drop in on-site customers and poor wholesale energy market conditions.

The company, formerly owned by Enron and ICI, runs Wilton Power Station and Sembcorp Biomass Power Station, as well as a major water treatment plant, two gas turbines and package boilers.

Doug Annan, Sembcorp Utilities UK’s senior vice president and site director, said: “Industrial fire fighting and emergency response is a core business for Falck.

“This is an excellent outcome for both parties, our existing industrial customers on Teesside and the employees of the asset protection business.”

He added Sembcorp will now continue focusing on growing its remaining business on Teesside, which include green energy and conventional energy operations, and employ about 180 workers.