Ferguson shipyard to be nationalised

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By Hugh Boag 

The Scottish Government has begun legal discussion with administrators to conclude the process of taking the Ferguson Marine shipyard into public ownership, allowing work to finally be completed on the new Arran ferry.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay is expected to visit the Port Glasgow yard on Monday to address the 300 strong workforce who have faced increasing uncertainty in recent weeks.

Ministers have been operating the shipyard, where the MV Glen Sannox lies unfinished, under a joint deal with administrators since the end of August while a buyer for the yard was being sought.

Following a sale of business process, administrators have concluded that three indicative offers for the business received from commercial parties are either not capable of being executed or do not represent a better outcome for creditors than a sale of the business to the Scottish Government.

Administrators are now in discussion with Scottish ministers to agree final terms of a sale and expect this to be executed within the next four weeks.

Economy secretary Derek Mackay said on Wednesday: ‘We have always been clear that we want to complete the vessels, secure jobs and give the yard a future. Administrators have concluded that despite other bids being submitted for the yard, the Scottish Government’s offer presents the best outcome for creditors.

‘We are working with the administrators to bring the yard into public ownership. I will be there on Monday to meet with the excellent workforce and reiterate the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for the yard and its employees.

‘While there is still more to be done, our actions have ensured that there will be a future for Fergusons.’

Nearly £50m of taxpayer loans to Ferguson Marine have been written off.

Ferguson went into administration following a dispute with Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd – which buys and leases CalMac ships on behalf of the Scottish government – over the construction of two £97m ferries, one for Arran and the other for the Uig Triangle.

The MV Glen Sannox is said to 75 per cent finished but still needs around nine months of work to be completed – and that is before any sea trials could start.

CMAL bosses have this week hit back at one of Scotland’s leading businessmen Jim McColl, saying that his team was ‘hopelessly out of its depth’ at the Clyde shipyard.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) was responding to claims from the entrepreneur Jim McColl that the organisation had been partly to blame for the collapse of the Ferguson site at Port Glasgow.

There have been opposition MSP calls for an inquiry into the funding of Ferguson shipyard and the fiasco over the CalMac ferries contract.