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New jobs hope for Ferguson shipyard

Jim McColl is hopeful of creating dozens of new jobs at the shipyard. Picture: Robert Perry

Jim McColl is hopeful of creating dozens of new jobs at the shipyard. Picture: Robert Perry

THE prospective new owner of Ferguson shipyard has said dozens of new jobs could be created at the firm.

Clyde Blowers Capital, which was founded by Jim McColl, was selected by administrators after four bids for the struggling Port Glasgow shipyard were received.

The business, which dates back to 1902, went into administration earlier this month with the loss of 70 jobs after experiencing ‘’significant cash-flow pressure’’.

Talks are taking place between Clyde Blowers Capital and administrators KPMG with a view to completing the sale of the business - the last commercial shipbuilder on the River Clyde.

Mr McColl told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme about his plans for the workforce.

He said: “There’s a lot of talented individuals there that we will be getting in touch with.

“I would expect we’ll be looking to book and order fairly quickly, the yard is quiet just now but I would expect to be able to get work in that would allow us, probably within the first year or 18 months, to employ numbers up to about 100 to 120 people, so higher than we had when the company went into administration.”

Mr McColl said he believed the yard could be turned around within a year to 18 months.

He said: “I think the yard needs quite a bit of investment in it so we do plan to upgrade the facilities there and then look at securing further work for the yard, perhaps another ferry but also looking at some other oil and gas and fabrication work.

“We have businesses that supply equipment into ship so I think we can help bring some further business to the yard from the oil and gas industry and we’re also involved with renewables.”

Asked if the yard had been too reliant on commercial shipbuilding, he said: “I think with those large jobs you need to have working capital behind it and bank guarantees to fund them and I think the yard was tightly funded and didn’t have the modern facilities to be competitive.”

Mr McColl added: “It would be a shame to lose this capability and heritage and history on the Clyde if there was a good economic argument for continuing it, and I believe it is and that it can be very successful.

“Engineering is my own background and I’m very confident that we can turn this into an economically successful enterprise.”

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