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Harland & Wolff owner to file for bankruptcy - 'business as usual' in Belfast


The famous Samson and Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

The famous Samson and Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

The famous Samson and Goliath cranes at Harland & Wolff in Belfast

Belfast's Harland & Wolff shipyard has said business is continuing as usual at after its majority owner announced it would file for bankruptcy and restructure.

It comes after the Norwegian oil and gas rig operator Dolphin Drilling ASA failed to reach a deal with its creditors.

Last year, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph, the shipyard was put up for sale in a restructure of the business by the owners in a bid to raise capital.

Around 100 people work at the Belfast site which has diversified away from ship building and into renewable energy installations.

The last ship constructed on the site sailed out in 2003.

A Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd spokesperson says: “A sales process of Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries is currently being conducted.

"The announced developments in relation to DDASA are not expected to impact this sales process and we are operating very much on a business as usual basis.”

Formerly Fred Olsen Energy, the company has been associated with Harland & Wolff for three decades. Any sale would likely mark one of the biggest corporate transactions in Northern Ireland in recent years.

Dolphin Drilling ASA has suffered from a downturn in the oil services sector. Last year it filed debts of almost £800million and a loss of around £230m.

The company announced on Wednesday it would file for bankruptcy having not been able to come to terms with an agreement with its creditors saying they demanded payment of all debts.

In a further statement the company announced it had restructured transferring Dolphin Drilling ASA’s operating subsidiaries to a new holding company, Dolphin Drilling Holdings Limited.

It said it was net-debt free with a "strong balance sheet and increased financial flexibility". However the sale process in Belfast remains unchanged at this stage.

Bjørnar Iversen, incoming chief executive of Dolphin Drilling, said: “We are delighted that Dolphin Drilling has now emerged in a strong position for the future. In addition to the company’s focused, nimble fleet and high-quality team, we now have the firm financial footing we need to win new business. I look forward to working with the team to ensure that the company fulfills its full potential.”