ELECTRONICS design and manufacturing firm Stadium Group will increase production in the North-East which could create up to 60 jobs.

The company, based in Hartlepool, has closed its plant in Rugby, Warwickshire, and transferred its work to this region and Asia, blaming difficult market conditions for the decision.

The firm, which employs about 140 workers at Hartlepool, says it will regain the deficit through lower operating costs within two years, and a spokesman said it had not ruled out providing more jobs at it's North-East headquarters.

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In the six months to 30 June 2012, Stadium reported revenues of £20.9m, down from £23.2m in the previous year, with pre-tax profits falling from £1.6m to £580,000.

The company, which supplies power subsystems to equipment manufacturers, has been in operation since 1911 and employs about 900 staff at Hartlepool, Rugby and China.

Last year, it revealed plans to move from electronics manufacturing into the electronic technologies market, focusing on niche products with intellectual property rights to design and make tailor-made system parts.

It consolidated Teesside as the centre of its UK operations after securing £3m worth of new business with two customers, and sold its Hong Kong office, which had managed its China manufacturing plant, for a £2.3m profit.