A NEATH Valley company has managed to safeguard its future thanks to support from the council.
JTEKT Automotive UK Limited, which is located on the Neath Vale Business Park in Resolven has been operating in the Neath Valley since 1997.
Initially the company started trading as Toyota TRW Steering Pumps and their main business was the assembling of Power Steering Pumps & Hoses for the Automotive Industry.
In 2002 following a considerable investment they diversified and started machining components for Toyota.
It was in 2005 that the company produced its one millionth pump and following a merger between Toyoda Machine Works and Koyo Sieko in 2006 the company became known as JTEKT Automotive UK Ltd (JAUK).
The economic downturn was having a severe impact on the entire automotive sector and it was at this stage that the Resolven plant took action to reposition the business to safeguard its future.
The company approached the council’s business development team, which resulted in the company receiving support that enabled them to trade through this difficult period and secure its future, safeguarding the existing 63 jobs.
Last year was a turning point, when the decision was taken by Toyota to produce 100 per cent of all Auris variants in the UK was made, while new business for Nissan created a further 12 jobs and a significant uplift to the sales revenue.
President and plant manager Kevin Gittins, said: "The recession during the years 2009-11 had what can only be described as a damaging effect on many businesses and JTEKT was no exception.
"We were given a clear mandate from JTEKT top management that we needed to return to a profitable status by the end of 2012 if we were going to survive.
"Even though this was difficult to achieve, the support we received from the council’s business development team and our in house efforts to reduce costs, we managed to achieve this.
"The support and proactive approach taken by the business development team has not only helped to secure the viability of the Resolven plant for the next five years, but has also showed our parent company, JTEKT Corporation, Japan, that local government values the contribution the company makes to the local community and surrounding areas within the Neath Valley."
Council leader Ali Thomas said: "There is now a strong belief that the economy is on the road to recovery and while there may be still a way to go, it’s companies like JTEKT that are working hard towards achieving this."
"I am therefore, delighted that the council was instrumental in helping the company safeguard its existing workforce and create new employment opportunities for the people of the Neath Valley."