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BiFab: Administrators plan to find new buyer for stricken Fife firm

BiFab unions
Workers at BiFab.

Administrators appointed after the collapse of Fife engineering firm BiFab will focus their efforts on finding a new buyer.

Gavin Park and Clare Boardman, restructuring partners at Deloitte, were appointed as joint administrators to Burntisland Fabrications Limited today following the firm’s collapse earlier this month.

In a statement, they said they would assess the firm’s prospects with a view to finding a suitable new owner.

They stressed no redundancies are planned at this stage.

Tough trading conditions

Mr Park highlighted BiFab’s potential for future contract wins while cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop said there had been several requests for information about the firm.

He said: “BiFab has faced tough trading conditions for several months.

“Despite the efforts of management, shareholders, and stakeholders, with no immediate revenue opportunities the business has now unfortunately entered administration.

The BiFab yard in Methil.

“We are reviewing the company’s assets as part of our assessment of the business’ prospects.

“There is a strong pipeline of future wind contracts and projects across the UK, including in Scottish offshore waters.

“Through its long-established expertise, which is supported by sites in Fife and on the Isle of Lewis, BiFab would be well positioned to serve these.”

Scottish Government pulled support

The future of BiFab has been in doubt since the Government withdraw financial guarantees supporting the manufacturing of eight offshore wind turbine jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project in October.

The NnG work would have brought hundreds of workers back to the company’s yards in Methil and Burntisland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited BiFab when its short-term future was secured in 2017

BiFab was also overlooked for work on the Seagreen offshore wind project in favour of a Chinese company in September.

The Scottish Government previously bailed BiFab out in 2017 and remained a minority shareholder after the company’s purchase by Canadian firm JV Driver through its subsidiary DF Barnes.

In total the company received £52m from the Scottish Government.

Mr Park said the Government had been informed of the administration strategy.

He added: “We hope to generate interest in BiFab from one of the industry’s larger players.

“We believe the skills of the BiFab workforce, and the strategically important facilities, can be utilised to take advantage of future market opportunities.”

Several enquiries from potential buyers

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said there had been several enquiries about the company since it entered administration.

The cabinet secretary said: “The Scottish Government will continue to do everything in its power to support BiFab’s workers and help forge a new future for the yards in Fife and the Western Isles.

Fiona Hyslop.

“We are hopeful that a buyer willing to invest in the business will be found and we will work closely with administrators and trade unions to secure the best possible outcome for the workforce, the yards and local communities.

“We have already had requests for information from interested parties and will share these with the administrators to explore all of the options available.

“I have also contacted Saipem reiterating our commitment to BiFab’s workforce and to the contract to build foundation jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project being delivered in Scotland.”

Before BiFab was rescued by the Scottish Government in 2017 when “critical cash problems” emerged the company had a workforce of around 1,400 – 251 permanent staff and 1,132 employed via agencies.


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