Harland and Wolff 'still in search of buyer'

Sat, 27 Jul 2019 | BUSINESS SALE

The Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast will not be able to survive past the end of July if a buyer doesn't come forward, according to Unite the Union.

The business was originally put up for sale at the end of last year as a result of serious financial issues stemming from its Norwegian parent company.

The shipyard, which currently employs around 130 people, is thought to have held a series of meetings with a number of potential buyers, as well as with union reps, Invest NI and a number of senior political figures, in a bid to tackle its financial issues and move forward.

According to a Harland and Wolff spokesman, the firm has also completed all necessary legalities and is firmly in place to proceed should a buyer emerge.

"The company had hoped to have completed the M&A process at this stage," he said, "but can confirm that they are still in negotiation with a number of potential bidders in an effort to transact a sale that achieves the best outcome for all stakeholders."

Unions are certain that the shipyard could turn around its financial issues should it win the chance to work on the Royal Navy's new Type 31e frigate. However, this will not be possible until a new owner is in place.

Susan Fitzgerald, regional coordinating officer with the Unite trade union, added that the government should also work harder to support shipbuilding in Britain and follow through on its previous commitments.

"We are calling on the Government to take the helm of Belfast shipbuilding, nationalise the yard and draw up a full strategic plan focused on maintaining capacity and skills," she said.


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