Jobs saved as Jim McColl buys firm in Highlands

JIM McColl’s Clyde Blowers Capital investment group has stepped in to save more than 70 jobs at a North-east engineering firm.

Clyde Blowers Capital investment group saved more than 70 jobs at MacKellar Sub-Sea. Picture: Robert Perry

MacKellar Sub-Sea, based in Grantown-on-Spey, and sister company Tritech Nairn of Kinloss, have been bought for an undisclosed sum by Ferguson Marine Engineering, a subsidiary of Clyde Blowers Capital which invests in manufacturing and industrial businesses. Both businesses are continuing to trade as normal and all 73 staff have transferred with immediate effect.

Joint administrator Tom MacLennan of FRP Advisory said the deal was “great news for the workforce, customers and the economy of the Highlands”.

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McColl, chairman and chief executive of East Kilbride-based Clyde Blowers Capital, said the acquisition would help with the development of Ferguson.

“We have a strategic vision to transform Ferguson into a leading marine engineering business and key pillars of this strategy are to enhance our service offering and increase our presence in attractive end markets. MacKellar Sub-Sea, which has a strong track record in the niche subsea oil and gas market, will help to achieve these objectives.”

Grantown-on-Spey-based MacKellar Sub-Sea is one of Scotland’s leading specialist sub-sea oil and gas engineering and fabrication businesses. The company has a niche expertise in a number of different markets, including sub-sea wellhead protection systems, offshore transportation systems and hydro-electric turbines.

The complementary business of Tritech Nairn, specialising in grit-blasting and painting facilities, currently operates from the former RAF base in Kinloss. The businesses had enjoyed a rise in turnover in the past three years, with sales expected to exceed £8 million in its latest financial year, but had fallen victim to financial pressures stemming from losses on contracts.