A SPECIALIST plastics firm forced to shed North-East jobs after a shock contract loss has strengthened its order book with an electronic cigarette deal.

Sone Products, in Stanley, County Durham, is buoyant after securing an agreement with The E-liquid Company to supply about one million bottles, caps and plugs for its products every year.

The move comes after the company confirmed in January it had made 20 workers redundant when a major customer suddenly dropped its orders.

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The E-liquid Company supplies liquids for refillable electronic cigarettes producing vapours inhaled by smokers, and its first Sone re-fill packs will roll off the production line this month.

Bosses say the three-year deal builds on its reputation in the beauty and healthcare industries.

Sone already makes mascara, eyeliner and lip gloss packaging and has a £200,000 annual contract with a dental product supplier to make millions of toothpicks for Scandinavia.

Tony Burnell, Sone business development manager, said: “This agreement is excellent news and our ability to provide customers with added value services across the design, manufacture and assembly of products is welcomed by them.

“We are looking forward to being able to build and strengthen in this sector at some point later in the year.”

Suhail Virmani, E-liquid Company director, said he was impressed by Sone's reputation in the plastics industry.

He said: “We have achieved a bottle design that's unique and the development process was a fantastic journey.

“The resulting pack will be a game changer in our market and the fact Sone makes its products in the UK fits really well with our own home-grown approach.

“It is a very impressive company.”

Last year, Sone, which employs more than 100 workers, and makes the main body and lids for mascara containers before inserting brushes and branding for global companies, invested £700,000 in equipment to increase production.

It also picked up work to make 50,000 containers that will be used to apply security-marking on goods for SmartWater Technology.

However, bosses were forced to cut jobs when a client lowered business to less than half its usual levels.