Glasgow & West Scotland

Wind Towers buys Campbeltown wind turbine tower plant

Welder
Image caption The Machrihanish plant employs more than 100 people

A closure-threatened factory in Argyll which manufactures towers for windfarms has been saved - four months after going into administration.

The Campbeltown plant has been bought by Wind Towers Limited, a joint venture between Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Marsh Wind Technology.

The factory at Machrihanish employs more than 100 people.

Its future had been in doubt since Danish parent company, Skykon, filed for bankruptcy.

Skykon took over the operation in Spring 2009 after the previous owners - another Danish company Vestas - decided to close it.

When it went bust, administrators Ernst and Young agreed a deal with engineering firm Siemens to resume production while attempts were made to sell the business.

Major employer

In May, it was announced that Wind Towers Limited had been given preferred bidder status.

That deal has now been completed, securing the immediate future of a major employer in the area.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has agreed to invest £3.4m as part of the deal.

Argyll and Bute Council is also committed to a £12m infrastructure upgrade to Campbeltown Harbour and some roads around the area to help make the most of the operation's potential.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE said: "SSE has invested in a range of new initiatives in the past year to ensure a robust and sustainable supply chain is created for renewable energy developers in Scotland.

"I am pleased that we have been able to work with Marsh Wind Technology and Highland and Islands Enterprise and the local council to secure the future of the Machrihanish plant and add another link to this chain.

"The focus of the Wind Towers Ltd management team will now be on efficiently delivering the order book already in place and then fully using the excellent facilities available at the site to make the most of the expanding market for offshore wind turbines."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "When I met staff and management at Machrihanish in March, I was struck by their drive and determination to ensure turbine manufacturing continued at the plant, so, I'm delighted that its long term future has now been secured with this successful sale to the SSE and Marsh joint venture.

"I'm also pleased that, through SDI and Highlands and Islands Enterprise we have been able to assist in the development of Wind Towers' ambitious future plans to move into the growing offshore wind turbine sector over the coming years.

"Alongside the continued deployment of clean green energy across our country and around our coast, I'm determined that we secure the associated manufacturing, fabrication, servicing and maintenance so communities such as Campbeltown fully benefit from the renewables revolution and continue to play a key role in the rapidly growing low carbon economy."

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