A joint statement from the team battling to secure a future at Cleveland Bridge has said production could be restarted on Monday as talks go on with possible buyers.

The statement from the Joint Administrators, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, MPs  Paul Howell and Peter Gibson, Darlington Council Leader Heather Scott and  the GMB Union said the business had been 'marketed for sale' and administrators had opened discussions with interested parties.

"After discussions with clients regarding support for live projects, the administrators intend to restart production within week commencing 2 August 2021, subject to the formal agreement of terms with customers and finalisation of insurance arrangements. 

"Staff required to fulfill the production requirements will be contacted next week and asked to return to work, while the remaining staff will likely continue to be furloughed as part of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme."

Martyn Pullin, Partner at FRP and Joint Administrator of Cleveland Bridge UK, added: “We are looking to restart production and continue to hold discussions with interested parties over the future of the business.

"We are working quickly and diligently to assess the viability of those approaches and will need to determine how they align with our objectives and duties as Joint Administrators.” 
As Sedgefield MP Paul Howell told us minutes before the statement, "things are looking better than they were yesterday."

He's right. This is not redundancies - all out and the gates closed.

Read more: Deadline for deal to be agreed

It is certainly not the future everyone thought this place had a few weeks ago, but it is more of a future than we might have feared a few days ago.

This is something to pin down and then build on. It's a route ahead and the team who have battled day and night to get us here should be applauded.

The suddenness of the announcement had led many people - me included - to wonder whether the damage could be repaired at all.

Joint Administrators Martyn Pullin, David Willis, and Iain Townsend of specialist business advisory firm FRP were appointed only on Thursday 22 July to help save the business, which has 221 staff at its headquarters in Darlington, an engineering site in Newport, South Wales, 48 contractors in Darlington and around 50 contractors on various other sites.

Hundreds more are employed in the supply chain at firms which have invested their futures in seemingly stable businesses like Cleveland Bridge and were desperate for information.

Read more: Covid blamed for Cleveland Bridge crisis

Martyn Pullin had made it clear Covid was to blame for the bulk of the company's problems, saying: “Cleveland Bridge UK has been a flagbearer for cutting edge British engineering for more than a century. But no business is immune to the far-reaching impact of the pandemic, which has delayed major infrastructure projects around the world and put significant financial pressure on the teams behind them.

“CBUK is a business with a proud history and a formidable track record of engineering excellence. It also has great potential."

It was certainly a global leader in the design, engineering, fabrication and construction of steel bridges and complex structures. 

As part of the Al Rushaid Group, it produced high-quality structural steel components at advanced manufacturing centres in the UK, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Seven Cleveland bridge icons

Founded in the UK in 1877, it has helped create some of the world’s most iconic structures, from the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Wembley Stadium Arch, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Shard in London.

It's a company proud of its workforce and the skills they have. Everyone there signs a ‘Values Charter’, demonstrating their commitment to trust, integrity, transparency and respect.

That trust and respect may have worn a bit thin over the last week, but it can still be earned again.