Belfast Telegraph

Harland & Wolff open for business as deal is sealed

Samson and Goliath, the giant cranes in Harland & Wolff shipyard
Samson and Goliath, the giant cranes in Harland & Wolff shipyard
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

InfraStrata, the new owners of Harland and Wolff, has said it's now "open for business" after taking possession of the historic shipyard in a £5.25m deal.

The energy plc made a £3.3m payment to administrators BDO yesterday, and will later pay £1.45m at the end of April. It's also paid maintenance on the assets of £0.5m.

InfraStrata said yesterday that "with keys now in hand, the company can now finalise a number of contracts, as well as discussions with lenders".

The deal has saved the jobs of 79 workers, who had faced a bleak future when the Titanic builder went into administration in August.

While a small number of staff had opted to take redundancy straight away, the majority reached an agreement with the administrators to accept a temporary lay-off which would preserve their employment contracts.

But the company's assets were then sold after what the administrators said had been an "intense and challenging" process.

John Wood, interim chairman and chief executive of InfraStrata, said: "Harland & Wolff is once again open for business. This is an important day for InfraStrata, the Harland &Wolff workforce and the region as a whole.

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"I would like to take this moment to welcome our new employees to the business and thank those who helped us get to this point.

"I am confident that, together, we can now secure and deliver meaningful projects which reaffirm Harland & Wolff's international reputation as a quality manufacturer of maritime and energy infrastructure."

East Belfast DUP candidate Gavin Robinson said the news was " a warmly welcomed Christmas present to the yard's workforce, but also to the unions and the wider community, whose support has been incredible".

He added: "The company has outlined ambitious plans to chart a new course ahead and I will work with them in whatever way possible to help them realise that vision."

And BDO said it had long been aware of the importance of the brand name through the process of finding a buyer. "We built excellent relationships with both the unions and the employees who played a crucial role in the success of this venture," a spokesperson said.

"Without their support, today's announcement may not have been possible.

"In particular, we would like to pay tribute to the determination and dedication of the staff who were willing to take a risk to secure the longer-term survival of the company."

Belfast law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin acted for InfraStrata.

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