ADMINISTRATORS for a North-East manufacturing firm deny that a deadline of two weeks has been given to find a buyer for the company.

Pressworks Metals, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, went into administration last week throwing the fate of about 250 employees into doubt.

Since then the company, which produces pressings and mouldings for the car industry, has continued to trade.

But it is understood workers at the factory, on Durham Way South, were told a 14-day deadline had been set to find a buyer or close the plant down.

Joe McLean, from administrators Grant Thornton, of Newcastle, said no such ultimatum had been made and that plans to find a buyer were proceeding well.

He said: "We've received tremendous support from the company's customers to keep trading and frankly any suggestion of a deadline is not at all helpful to our efforts to secure a buyer and safeguard jobs."

Mr McLean refused to say whether any jobs were under threat but he said workers at the firm were being kept informed of the situation.

"There are weekly briefings going on so staff know exactly what the situation is. We're still producing customer orders and we're still hopeful of finding a buyer."

Pressworks is one of two manufacturers in the region to go into administration last week. Lionweld Kennedy, on Teesside, called in administrators 24 hours after the Newton Aycliffe firm.

Both companies cited the huge rise in the cost of steel as one of the main factors leading to their financial difficulties.

Gerry Hunter, of trade union Amicus, which has members at Pressworks but no overall union recognition, said he was very concerned about the 260 employees at the company.