Belfast Telegraph

Harland and Wolff: Infrastrata misses first payment deadline

Employees of Harland and Wolff during their protest at the gates of the shipyard in Belfast.
Employees of Harland and Wolff during their protest at the gates of the shipyard in Belfast.

By Eimear McGovern

The company that agreed to buy Harland and Wolff has not met an initial deadline to pay part of the purchase price of the Belfast shipyard.

Having paid a £500,000 deposit at the start of October, Infrastrata had a "soft" target to pay £3.3 million on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the company said they're now aiming for a "backstop" date of December 31.

The spokesperson cited due diligence and negotiations as the reason for the delay but stressed there is no cause for concern when it comes to the completion of the purchase.

In a statement, the company said they are pleased with the progress made and that the process of purchasing Harland and Wolff is at an advanced stage of negotiation with BDO NI, the administrators.

"The Company is working towards completing the acquisition as soon as possible, and earlier than the pre-agreed backstop date of 31 December 2019," read the statement.

When the London-based energy company announced it would purchase Harland and Wolff for £6m, it said it would start using Harland & Wolff assets in November under a licensing arrangement if the deal did not complete by 31 October.

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It says this will now not be the case until the acquisition is completed.

"In order to ensure that this process is completed as quickly as possible, the company will not start utilising the assets under a licensing arrangement until the proposed acquisition is completed," they said.

John Wood, CEO of Infrastrata said: "We are working diligently, together with the various stakeholders, to complete the deal, and we are pleased to see due diligence and negotiations at a very advanced stage.

"We remain committed to signing an APA as soon as is practically possible and look forward to providing further updates when the remaining items are finalised."

Infrastrata is expected to make a further and final payment of £2.2m by April 30 2020.

A total of 120 jobs were put at risk when Harland & Wolff went into administration in August, after which the shipyard was saved in the Infrastrata purchase.

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