A CITY engineering firm looks set to go into administration putting up to 100 jobs at risk, the Worcester News has learned.

Froude Hofmann, based at the Blackpole Trading Estate, has confirmed it has been having financial difficulties, and has now begun a process of appointing administrators.

The Worcester News has been told staff at the company, which designs and manufactures engine testing systems for firms including Jaguar Land Rover, learned they were being laid off when they went into work on Monday morning, and were sent home.

On Monday afternoon, the site was empty apart from a couple of vehicles, and the front door to the office was closed, with no one on the reception desk.

In a statement, a spokesman for Froude Hoffman said: "The company has experienced a period of significant losses coupled with a weak order intake.

"As a result, a notice of intention to appoint administrators has been filed.

"In the meantime we are working with proposed administrators, Poppleton & Appleby, to assess the options in the coming days.

"The majority of staff have been laid off while we decide on the most appropriate course of action, which could include amongst other options, the continuation of ongoing operations and a possible sale of the underlying business and assets.”

The spokesman added while options were being considered, it was inviting businesses interested in Froude Hofmann's assets to contact them by calling James Acton at Gordon Brothers Europe, the company’s appointed agent, on 0121 216 6280.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has spoken of his sadness at the news, saying his first priority will be to support staff affected by a possible closure.

"It is very sad," the MP said.

"There is a lot of engineering companies in Worcester, which will either be suitable to take over the site, or take on these workers.

"I will be getting Worcestershire LEP and the Chamber of Commerce involved in this - we should be able to help staff.

"I'm going to try and get a meeting with management arranged as soon as possible to look at what we can do."

• FROUDE Hofmann has been one of Worcester's most famous names in engineering with a lineage going back over 100 years.

The Froude names dates back to William Froude, who invented the hydraulic water brake dynamometer in 1877. 

His son Richard Froude joined forces with Hammersley Heenan to form Heenan and Froude in 1881, which went onto become one of Worcester's most famous names. 

Blackpool Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in the UK, was built by the company in 1894 as England's rival to Paris' Eiffel Tower. 

In the 120 years since its construction the popular northern visitors attraction has received numerous awards, including earlier this year when it received the first North West Civil Engineering Award by the Institute of Civil Engineers. 

The Froude company has been in the city in some shape of form for 120 years, operating under various names. 

The firm has featured in the Worcester News for a number of stories including the move from its former headquarters at Gregory's Bank to Blackpole in 1995, its building of a car driving robot in 1998, features on its popular training school for apprentices, and on the various multi-million contracts it signed with some of the world's biggest motor manufacturers over the years.

Only last month, when the Blackpool Tower project award was given the latest award, Froude Hofmann’s manufacturing director, John Ryder, commented on its history.

Mr Ryder told the Worcester News: "I am proud that we have nine apprentices and have been awarded employer of the year by the Worcestershire Group Training Association.

"We have a great legacy which we are now passing on to the next generation."

The future now looks uncertain after the company's latest announcement.