Harland & Wolff buyer Infrastrata confident of deal despite missing payment
The company which had agreed to buy Harland & Wolff has not met an initial deadline to pay part of the purchase price of the iconic Belfast shipyard.
Having paid a £500,000 deposit at the start of October, Infrastrata had a 'soft' target to pay £3.3m yesterday.
A total of 120 jobs were put at risk when Harland & Wolff went into administration in August after the collapse of its Norwegian parent company.
Workers staged a sit-in protest at the shipyard for weeks as part of a campaign to save one of Northern Ireland's biggest names in industry.
Their campaign was brought to an end when Infrastrata announced it would buy it for £6m last month.
A spokesperson for the London-based energy company said they are now aiming for a 'backstop' date of December 31.
The spokesperson cited due diligence and negotiations as the reason for the delay, and stressed there is no cause for concern when it comes to the completion of the purchase.
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In a statement, the company said they are pleased with the progress made and that the process of purchasing Harland & 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 December 31, 2019," read the statement.
When the London-based energy company announced it would purchase Harland & Wolff, it said it would start using Harland & Wolff assets in November under a licensing arrangement if the deal did not complete by October 31.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
It has said that it will initially focus on metal fabrication for its energy projects at the site.