A FIRM providing scaffolding and protective coating services, employing about 250 North-East workers, has signed a deal with the world's largest independent insulation and fire protection company to safeguard its future.

Opus Industrial Services, based in Billingham, near Stockton, works in structural fire protection, thermal insulation and rescue and specialist rope access for the offshore energy industry, and is now in partnership with Kaefer C&D.

The deal saw Kaefer, which has offices in Jarrow, South Tyneside, buy 100 per cent of Opus shares, with the company re-named Kaefer Opus Ltd.

Founded in 2004, Opus also works in the petrochemical industry, with companies including Ineos, Sabic and Growhow, which all have plants on Teesside.

A Kaefer spokesman said: “Until now, Kaefer C&D has offered limited rope access and fire protection services to its UK customers.

“However, with the acquisition of Opus we are able to provide a number of complementary services in the UK and strengthen the rope access competence within the business as a whole.”