TRANSIT maker Ford is back in the black for the first time in four years.

The multinational firm, which has a van plant in Southampton, made £1.6 billion surplus in 2009, its first annual profit since 2005.

The global cash haul comes in the year when the US-owned car giant slashed the number of workers in Southampton by half.

Now unions at the Swaythling factory have called for cash to be invested there to secure its long-term future.

Behind the headline figure was some less positive news.

Ford’s Europe division, where all the Southampton made Transits are sold, has been in the black consistently for six years, but saw profits dwindle from £997m in 2008 to just £52m last year as the recession took hold.

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