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Harland & Wolff winding-up petition ‘issued by mistake’


The Samson & Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

The Samson & Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

The Samson & Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

Historic east Belfast shipyard Harland & Wolff, which built the Titanic, has swerved a winding-up petition from HMRC arising from “an administrative error”.

A subsidiary, Harland & Wolff (Arnish), was presented with the petition to shut it down last week at the High Court.

But the firm said the claim was the result of an error. 

A spokesman said: “We understand this to be an administrative error within HMRC’s system that failed to recognise a payment of £92,275.

"The company notified HMRC about the erroneous petition which was promptly withdrawn.

"This matter is now resolved and closed.”

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HMRC said it was unable to comment on named businesses due to taxpayer confidentiality.  But a spokesman added: “We support customers with tax debts and work with them to find the best solution based on their financial circumstances. We take action where appropriate.”

Harland & Wolff (Arnish) is the company behind a former BiFab fabrication facility in Scotland, which was taken over by Harland & Wolff’s parent company in early 2021. 

Harland & Wolff this month announced it had won a contract worth around £8.5m to build 11 barges for use on London’s River Thames in Belfast.

The contract with the waste management and recycling company Cory will see the first stage of work begin within the next two months, with the ships expected to be finished by the middle of 2023.

The shipbuilding contract marks the latest success for the east Belfast shipyard after it was saved from closure in 2019 when it was acquired by UK-based energy company Infrastrata. Infrastrata was then renamed Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc.