Ferguson Marine on brink of collapse

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Public ownership on the table as troubled shipbuilder enters administration.

Last September, Ferguson Marine’s losses were laid bare when it posted losses of GBP 60 million.

Entrepreneur Jim McColl’s company -the last remaining shipbuilder on the lower Clyde, Port Glasgow, Scotland – required the full payment of an agreed Scottish Government loan and further funding to keep going.

Leading salmon farmers
They were given a reprieve after they secured two new contracts to build ‘Aquaculture Support Vessels’ for their client, Inverlussa Marine Services, to be used on a long-term charter for one of Scotland’s leading salmon farmers.

This 26-metre-long, 450-ton multi-role treatment vessel is due to be completed by late 2019. PHOTO: Inverlussa Marine Services

The Daily Record reports that now the shipbuilder has going into administration following a dispute over a delayed public ferry contract, of which the bill for two new vessels nearly doubled from the original GBP 97 million price tag. The government contract intended to save it.

Government was “ready and willing”
The news has prompted politicians to nationalise the shipyard to help complete the ships and keeping shipbuilding at the site – with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay telling Herald Scotland that the Government was “ready and willing” to intervene in the absence of a “commercial saviour for the firm” where 350 jobs are at risk.

Secure future for the yard
A spokeswoman told the publication: “We have been working to secure a future for the shipyard for two years, and it is disappointing that we have not been able to reach a commercial solution with CBC that would have prevented administrators becoming involved.

“We appreciate that this will be a concerning time for the workforce, their families and the local community, and we would like to reassure them that we are committed to maintaining the jobs on the site and building a secure future for the yard and its workforce.

“We have been working closely with trades unions representatives throughout this process, and we will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks.

Inverlussa Marine Services Managing Director Ben Wilson​ emailed SalmonBusiness with the following:

“We have been happy with the progress and especially the build quality of our projects currently under construction in Ferguson’s. We are keeping in close touch with both the shipyard management and Government Officials and are looking forward to a quick resolution.”