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The south-west England operator running between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has “unequivocally rejected” a takeover bid from the Belfast based shipbuilder Harland and Wolff (H&W), reports Business Live.

Bosses at the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG), which runs the passenger ferry Scillonian III and two freight vessels, said the approach from the H&W group which in 2020 acquired Devon’s Appledore shipyard, was not in the best interests of shareholders.

In August as Afloat reported, H&W outlined a plan to build new vessels, a passenger ferry, cargo-ship and an inter-island vessel in order to launch its own service on the 37 nautical mile route of Penzance Harbour-St. Mary’s, the largest of the Isles of Scilly.

The Aim-listed firm had previously said it was seeking an operating licence and would work with local councils to apply for ‘Levelling Up’ funding amounting of £48m, in which the UK Government has already allocated for the construction of newbuilds to serve the route.

On Friday (24 Nov.) the board of H&W said it was “disappointed” that an indicative and preliminary cash offer for the entire share capital of the ISSG had been rebuffed. H&W added that they would “consider their options”. At this stage, H&W now has until 21 December, to formally announce whether or not it has a firm intention to make an offer for the Penzance based ISSG, in accordance with the Takeover Code.

The origins of the ISSG can be traced to 1920 when the Isles of Scilly Steamship was established, and the Group continues to be the only operator of passenger and freight services along the route. In April, ISSG announced it had secured a £33.6m loan from private asset finance provider Lombard to fund its own plans for a new 600 passenger ferry and two new freight vessels, to be built by a French shipbuilder’s facility overseas and scheduled for delivery by March 2026.

Published in Shipyards

Shipbuilder, Harland & Wolff Group Holdings is in the running to build and operate two new ferries to serve the remote Isles of Scilly, 24 nautical miles off Cornwall in south-west England.

The shipbuilding group which has facilities on both sides of the Irish Sea, is reaching the conclusion of a full technical, operational and financial business case on the newbuild ferries on the Penzance Harbour-Hugh Town, St. Mary’s route.

According to The Irish News, H&W will join partners, including local councils, to make an application for the UK government's levelling up funding. In addition, to seeking a licence to operate the two vessels on the 37 nautical mile route and be based initially over a five-year period.

Harland & Wolff however, warns that "there is no certainty at this point that this opportunity will proceed to financial close".

In the event that if H&W’s project proceeds, it is not known whether any of the workload for the newbuilds, would be carried out at the shipbuilder group’s main Belfast shipyard.

More on the story here and as BBC News reported, H&W's proposal would put it in competition with the established Isles of Scilly Steamship Company which celebrated its centenary in 2020.

The shipyard at Queens Island, Afloat adds is one of Harland & Wolff’s four facilities. Two are located in Scotland and the fourth in England, at Appledore, Devon is where the current Scilly ferry, Scillonian III was built in 1977.

In recent years, the shipyard in 2019 was acquired by Infrastrata, owners of H&W and the facility with 300 years of shipbuilding was renamed Harland & Wolff (Appledore).

Published in Shipyards

The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will visit Belfast this Thursday evening to mark the return of naval ship building in Northern Ireland, Downing Street has announced.

Last month it was confirmed that Harland & Wolff Group as part of the Team Resolute bid was awarded a £1.6bn Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to develop and build the next generation of Fleet Solid Support Ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). .

The RFA newbuild trio will provide global logistics and operational support to the Royal Navy. In addition the role of these replenishment vessels will include the essential QE aircraft carrier-led Maritime Strike Group when on deployment.

The Prime Minister's two day visit to NI, is expected to highlight “the UK-wide nature of the project” and that it “demonstrates how intertwined Northern Ireland’s economy is with the rest of the UK.”

The visit of Mr Sunak represents the first official visit to Northern Ireland since he took office in October.

More from Belfast Telegraph of the PM's visit that will emphasise in the boosting of the UK’s naval shipbuilding capabilities for the future and secure job creation at the famous H&W shipyard. 

Published in Shipyards

The UK quoted company, InfraStrata plc which focuses on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset lifecycle management, is pleased to announce it has applied to Companies House to trade under the name Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc.

The parent company has over the past 18 months, proceeded through various phases which have included, the acquisition of assets, significant upgrades to all its facilities, the introduction of state-of-the-art technology. While simultaneously establishing a substantial sales pipeline which now stands at £7.8bn (on an unweighted) and £1.8bn (on a weighted).

The company is now at its final stage of full reactivation (incl. apprenticeships) of all its yards, which involves building a multi-year backlog for its facilities across its five key markets: defence, cruise and ferry, commercial, renewables and energy. The company believes that this change of name will better reflect its ambition in expanding its core business and the significant development of its shipbuilding and fabrication activities.

The organisation’s flagship Islandmagee gas storage project will retain its name, with management remaining focused on obtaining the Marine Construction Licence and Final Investment Decision (FID) thereafter. Whilst the project now has substantially more life expectancy with the need for major volumes of hydrogen storage (subject to regulatory approvals) it is a relatively straightforward technical change to make in a phased approach as the project transitions from gas to hydrogen over time.

Trading in the company's shares on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange under the new name of Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc is expected to take effect as soon as a new stock ticker name has been issued by the AIM team.

An application for the stock ticker “HARL” has been made and will be confirmed as soon as the company’s name has been formally changed at Companies House. A further announcement will be made as soon as regulatory permissions have been secured and the new Company stock ticker has been issued.

In order to reflect the change of name, the company's corporate website will change to www.harland-wolff.com. The information required pursuant to AIM Rule 26 will be available at this address.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata plc commented: “We are delighted to make this announcement today, signalling the end of upgrade and reactivation phases. With the new national shipbuilding strategy due to be released in the autumn and the government’s ten point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, we have confidence that the shipbuilding and fabrication business will deliver substantial value to all our stakeholders as we enter this exciting new stage of building our multiyear backlog of projects.

Since acquiring Harland & Wolff in December 2019, we have seen the organisation grow significantly; in August 2020 we reopened what is now known as Harland & Wolff (Appledore) and in February 2021, we acquired two ex-BiFab sites based in Scotland - now renamed Harland & Wolff (Arnish) and Harland & Wolff (Methil) respectively giving us one of the largest fabrication footprints dedicated to our core markets, in addition to two of the largest drydocks in Europe at Harland & Wolff (Belfast) which at 80% capacity could give sales of in excess of £500m per annum when operational efficiencies have been achieved.

This is a natural progression in building and further developing the Harland & Wolff brand, our commitments to high-quality jobs across our five markets including the 34 apprenticeships recently announced as well as providing socio-economic investment into local, regional, and national communities.”

Published in Shipyards

Parent company of Harland & Wolff, InfraStrata plc, is delighted to announce that former First Sea Lord & Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Navy, Sir Jonathon Band, will be joining its Board of Directors.

Sir Jonathon is expected to formally join the Board by the end of August 2021.

Sir Jonathon Band is a former First Sea Lord & Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Navy during which period he created a new innovative Command Structure in addition to promoting the need for maritime investment and security. Sir Jonathon has also worked very closely with the industry to promote and implement the Defence Industrial Strategy, a UK government policy focused on the efficient allocation of military equipment and resources to the UK armed forces.

Prior to his role as First Sea Lord, Sir Jonathon served as Commander in Chief Fleet during which time, as Chief Operating Officer, he was responsible for the operational capability and deployment of the Navy’s front line. Sir Jonathon is highly respected for his time spent in supporting foreign and defence policies and for his crucial role in negotiating and building coalitions across NATO allies and Middle Eastern partners.

Following his retirement from the Royal Navy, Sir Jonathon has held numerous non-executive positions at Lockheed Martin UK, Babcock International Group, National Museum of the Royal Navy and Survitec Group Ltd.

Sir Jonathon is currently a Non-Executive Director of Carnival Corporation, the NYSE & LSE listed global cruise operator.

Clive Richardson, Chairman of InfraStrata plc, commented: “I am very pleased that Sir Jonathon has agreed to join the InfraStrata board. With this appointment, the Board of InfraStrata will now consist of three non-executive directors and two executive directors, each one with significant experience in our key growth sectors. Sir Jonathon brings with him several decades of experience in the defence and wider marine markets. I look forward to working very closely with Sir Jonathon and for him to become an integral part of our Board as we move the business forward.”

Harland & Wolff is a multisite fabrication company, operating in the maritime and offshore industry through five sectors: commercial, cruise and ferry, defence, oil & gas and renewables and six services: technical services, fabrication and construction, decommissioning, repair and maintenance, in-service support and conversion.

Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where this will be significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, oil and gas and defence sectors.

Harland & Wolff is a wholly-owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc (AIM: INFA), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm focused on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset life-cycle management.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

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Harland & Wolff, the iconic shipyard on Belfast Lough with over 160 years of maritime and offshore engineering pedigree, welcomed The Prince of Wales on 18 May 2021 to mark its 160th anniversary.

Arriving at Harland & Wolff (Belfast), His Royal Highness toured the yard, met with workers and signed the company Visitors’ Book. During this ceremony, The Prince was then presented with a framed photo of his late father, The Duke of Edinburgh, on a visit to the shipyard in 1977 along with an original copy of the ‘H&W News’ which featured The Duke of Edinburgh’s visit.

The Prince finished the visit by unveiling a celebratory plaque marking the 160th anniversary of Harland & Wolff.

Addressing staff, The Prince commented:

“I’m so pleased to hear that there is all sorts of potential new activity here and new fabrication opportunities, that could be really encouraging, and I hope you could encourage a lot more of the young to become apprentices and understand the importance of manufacturing and to also understand how this country has led the way in so many of these areas.”

“We owe all of you an enormous debt of gratitude for your skills and ingenuity, which are so remarkable. Well done all of you and thank you for all the hard work you put in.”

Founded on April 11 1861 by Sir Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, Harland & Wolff’s heritage includes work on some of the most iconic ships, including the famous RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic, right through to the SS Canberra for P&O and the Myrina tanker – the first supertanker built in the UK.

John Wood, Group CEO commented: “It has been a pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness onto site to commemorate our 160th anniversary. As one of the most iconic names in shipbuilding, this visit marks an incredible moment in our history. We have a great past, and now we’re proud to be building a great future. Through our newly launched apprenticeship scheme, we will continue to pass on those skills and traditions and in doing so, put British shipbuilding back on the map. This is no mean feat but as one team, we will return Harland & Wolff to its former glory.”

Harland & Wolff is a multisite fabrication company, operating in the maritime and offshore industry. Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where this will be significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, oil and gas and defence sectors.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

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Harland & Wolff, the iconic shipyard with over 160 years of maritime and offshore engineering pedigree has announced it has been awarded a contract by Saipem Limited for the fabrication and load-out of eight wind turbine generator (WTG) jacket foundations.

The jacket foundations will service the EDF Renewables and ESB owned Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm project located in the outer Firth of Forth in Scotland. The contract schedule is due to commence from 1 July 2021 and is anticipated to create around 290 direct and indirect jobs.

The works for fabrication, consolidation and load-out of the eight WTG jacket foundations will principally be conducted at Harland and Wolff’s newly acquired Methil facilities in Scotland. Should there be an opportunity to further optimise the works programme and make the contract more cost-effective, Harland & Wolff and Saipem will work jointly to spread additional workstreams within the contract across its three other sites in Belfast, Arnish and Appledore.

With its unrivalled UK fabrication facilities, Harland & Wolff’s multi-site approach can reduced fabrication timelines by as much as 30% - offering project developers a faster route to project monetisation and de-risking fabrication projects by spreading work across three distinct but close-proximity geographies.

Harland & Wolff’s four sites offer a combined footprint of over 334.6 hectares, with well over 72,000m² of undercover fabrication capacity. Belfast comprises two of the largest drydocks in the UK, second largest in Europe, each at 356 metres and 556 metres in length whilst Arnish boasts the largest fabrication hall in Europe. Both the Arnish and Methil sites offer 580,000m² of total site area and 24,000 tonnes of quayside load-out capabilities, boasting an annual throughput tonnage estimated at over 100,000 tonnes.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, commented: “We are delighted to have entered into this contract with Saipem and I believe that this contract paves the way for the execution and delivery of future fabrication contracts, a significant number of which are currently in advanced negotiations.

The geographical proximity of our Methil facility to the North Sea makes it an ideal site for fabrication and load-out to wind farm projects such as this. More importantly, it validates our strategic vision of expanding the Group’s fabrication footprint into regions that are strategically located within proximity to major wind farm projects. This will enable us to spread workstreams across our facilities to drive down costs, deliver against tight schedules and, crucially, align ourselves to the government’s goal of providing wind generated power to all homes in the UK by 2030.

I am confident that this is only the beginning of a stream of projects in our pipeline that we expect to come to fruition. We are hugely excited about the massive potential that this first contract has unlocked, and we look forward to working with Saipem to successfully deliver under it.”

Harland & Wolff is a wholly-owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc (AIM: INFA), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm focused on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset life-cycle management.

Harland & Wolff is a multisite fabrication company, operating in the maritime and offshore industry. Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where this will be significant demand.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

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Harland & Wolff, the national strategic asset, with four leading shipyards and fabrication facilities based in Belfast, Appledore, and Scotland is proud to be celebrating its 160th anniversary.

Founded on April 11 1861 by Sir Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, its heritage includes work on some of the most iconic ships, including the famous RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic, right through to the SS Canberra for P&O and the Myrina tanker – the first supertanker built in the UK.

John Wood, Group CEO commented: “It is a great privilege to celebrate 160 years of Harland & Wolff. It is a brand that is steeped in history and is now going through a pivotal change that will see it industry-leading once again.

We have already started to invest in all our facilities, from Wilma the robotic welder in Belfast to the complete restoration of the Appledore dock gates. As technology advances, we are keen to adopt new and better ways of doing things across all of our facilities to ensure we are internationally competitive.

As we recruit the next generation of shipbuilder and fabricators through our apprenticeship scheme, you will not just see ships being built under Samson and Goliath, you’ll see work from across all our five markets from wind farm jackets to bridges, and warships.”

Pioneering twenty-first century offshore and maritime engineering, Harland & Wolff operates throughout five markets, offering six key services. Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where there is significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, oil and gas and defence sectors.

Harland & Wolff is a wholly-owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc (AIM: INFA), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm focused on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset life-cycle management.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

Published in Shipyards

In Belfast’s world-famous Harland and Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was built, the horn which hasn’t been sounded for more than twenty years, reverberated loud and clear across the city on Thursday night at 8 pm in appreciation of NHS workers. The horn used to signal the end of a shift in a huge yard which had at its peak 30,000 workers.

Harland & Wolff managing director John Petticrew said: “We figured that it would be appropriate because they are unique times we are in, we thought we would sound a  unique alarm. It is quite simple. It is to support all the essential workers who are working, like nurses and doctors and bus drivers, to show our support from Harland & Wolff, just the same as everybody else.”

In what has now become a regular occurrence across the UK on Thursdays, people come out to clap in appreciation of the thousands of NHS and Social Care staff as well as all front-line workers battling COVID-19. Over a period of three weeks, the applause has been extended to many more sectors such as Firefighters, Refuse Collectors and the Police.

The honour of sounding the horn fell to Harland and Wolff’s Health and Safety Manager Paul Beattie. He said, “We proudly applaud the work of all those involved in keeping us safe, fed and cared for and for those keeping the lights on, the streets clean and essential transport moving during these challenging days.”

In the accompanying applause, workers were seen on the top of one of the cranes in the yard.

Harland & Wolff is famous for having built most of the ships for the White Star Line. Other well-known vessels built by Harland & Wolff include the Olympic class RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and the RMS Britannic. They also built ships for the Royal Navy, Shaw Savill, and Union Castle.

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Administrators of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, reports BBC News, say they have received a number of non-binding offers to buy the business as a going concern.

The yard, best known for building the Titanic, was placed into administration earlier this month.

Administrators, BDO, said there are other interested parties which may result in further offers.

BDO has agreed with the unions to extend the unpaid temporary lay-off of staff until 30 September.

For more on this latest development at the east Belfast yard, click here.

Published in Belfast Lough
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