Belfast Telegraph

Administrators officially appointed to Harland and Wolff

Harland & Wolff workers emerge from a meeting yesterday chanting ‘save our shipyard’
Harland & Wolff workers emerge from a meeting yesterday chanting ‘save our shipyard’
Administrators have been called in at Harland and Wolff (Liam McBurney/PA)
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Administrators have now been appointed to historic shipyard Harland and Wolff after a court hearing as the insolvency process gets underway. 

Business advisory firm BDO said its insolvency experts Brian Murphy and Michael Jennings have been appointed administrators to the company.

A spokesman said: "The team at BDO have engaged immediately with H&W employees and other stakeholders to take all necessary steps to ensure they are supported throughout the administration"

In a brief statement, BDO said: "After a long sales process, in which a buyer could not be found, the business has been unable to continue trading due to having insufficient funds following the recent insolvency of its ultimate parent."

However, there was no further detail on the position of its 123-strong workforce and how it will be affected by the insolvency.

Workers at the shipyard, who are continuing to protest at the site in Belfast, will not be paid from Tuesday.

Unions will be holding a conference call with Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith today in an attempt to find a way forward.

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Assets like its cranes, real estate and dry dock could yet be sold during administration - a result which would raise money to pay creditors. But a deal which would preserve the jobs of all the staff, some of whom have worked for the company for 40 years, looks less likely.

Former Harland and Wolff boss, Sir John Parker, has called on the Government to step in and save the iconic shipyard.

"It's a disappointment given all the years we fought to keep it alive and thriving - for all the people who over the years have made a success of it and kept it alive, when so many yards around Europe have died," he said.

"I feel for all the people who have relied on it for their living.

"When a business reaches this stage, then quite clearly I would have thought Government and potential investors in the private sector might get together and find a formula that can enable it to continue.

"If it's now in the hands of administrators, quite clearly they will have their own ideas on how to maximise its value. But I think administrators, Government and potential investors should be getting together to try to create a plan to utilise those assets in the best interests of employment."

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