McColl aims to expand workforce at stricken Ferguson Shipbuilders

Jim McColl Jim McColl's personal fortune is estimated to be about £1bn

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The prospective new owner of Ferguson Shipbuilders has outlined expansion plans for the Port Glasgow yard.

Administrators KPMG announced on Monday that Clyde Blowers Capital was the preferred bidder for the yard and a sale could be completed within 14 days.

The firm's founder and chairman, Jim McColl, said he hoped the workforce could grow from its pre-administration level of 77 to 120 people.

He promised to upgrade facilities and seek work in the renewables sector.

Mr McColl's firm was among three eventual bidders for the business, which went bust on 15 August with the loss of 70 jobs.

Start Quote

I would expect we'll be looking to book an order fairly quickly”

End Quote Jim McColl Clyde Blowers Capital

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: "The yard obviously needs quite a bit of investment in it.

"We do plan to invest, upgrade facilities there, and then to look at further work for the yard.

"This could be perhaps another ferry, but looking at maybe doing some oil and gas work or some other fabrication work."

Speaking from Western Australia, Mr McColl stressed the importance of diversification for the future of Ferguson's.

He added: "We can help bring some further business to the yard from the oil and gas industry in particular.

"We're also involved in renewables and I think there may be some work in that area in the future as well."

Mr McColl, one of Scotland's wealthiest people with a fortune estimated to be about £1bn, said some of the recent problems at Fergusons stemmed from the lack of working capital needed for the major contracts it was attempting to complete.

Order target

He also said the yard lacked the facilities needed to make it competitive with the best shipbuilders elsewhere.

"I would expect we'll be looking to book an order fairly quickly," he said.

"The yard is very quiet now but I would expect to be able to get some work in there that would allow us - probably in the first year to 18 months - to get the employee numbers up to about 100 or 120 people."

Mr McColl's plans for the ailing shipbuilder have been welcomed by Jim Moohan, GMB Scotland senior organiser and chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU).

"We are confident that Mr McColl will bring a new vision and strategy to the yard and place it in a very competitive position with the expectation that the workforce will increase to three figures," he said.

"This, of course, will have to be complemented by total support from the Scottish government and all political parties."

Mr Moohan added: "I am confident that Mr McColl will not only protect the shipbuilding maritime position, but also seek out new markets within the shipbuilding and engineering markets."

Originally formed in 1902, Ferguson Shipbuilders employed 77 staff at the time of the administration appointments. A skeleton staff has been retained to maintain the yard.

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    text 80295 09:23: Drink-drive limit - Your Views

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  61.  
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  66.  
    08:25: Drink-drive changes 'will save lives'

    The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said the Scottish government's plan to reduce the country's drink-drive limit in time for Christmas "will help save lives".

    kenny macaskill

    Mr MacAskill told Good Morning Scotland: "There is clear evidence it will save lives - approximately 20 lives at least.

    "The latest estimates show that approximately one in 10 deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit. If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, you are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.

    "This is about protecting lives of drivers."

     
  67.  
    08:19: MacAskill on drink-drive limit

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is speaking on BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland about plans to reduce the drink-drive limit in time for Christmas.

     
  68.  
    08:17: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    All lanes now open following an accident at Newhouse Junction 6 on the eastbound M8, but congestion back to the Showcase junction.

    Glasgow bound M74 - just after J1A - accident blocking lane 3. Police are at scene and traffic is slow on approach, tailing back to at least Cambuslang Road Junction 2.

    Glasgow's Southside - traffic lights are out of action on Queen's Drive at Victoria Road.

    And in Torphichen, West Lothian, a fuel spillage on A801, both ways at A706 Avon Gorge, means the road is partially blocked.

     
  69.  
    08:13: Deila's delight

    Manager Ronny Deila was delighted to see Stefan Scepovic finally get off the mark as Celtic beat Astra Giurgiu 2-1 in the Europa League.

    stefan scepovic

    The Serbian striker, signed in the summer, missed a host of great chances before he opened the scoring with a second-half header to break his duck.

    "I'm happy for him that he gets the goal," Deila told BBC Scotland.

    "I kept him on the pitch because he was getting chances and I know what a goalscorer he is."

     
  70.  
    08:12: Salmond heading south?

    Alex Salmond has said he has not made up his mind whether or not to stand for a Westminster seat at the next general election.

    alex salmond

    The outgoing Scottish first minister was asked on the BBC's Question Time programme if he would consider becoming an MP again.

    Mr Salmond said he had "absolutely decisively" not made up his mind, but agreed that the door was not closed.

    He served as an SNP MP between 1987 and 2010 for Banff and Buchan.

     
  71.  
    08:03: Drink-drive limit cut by Christmas

    The Scottish government is to reduce the country's drink-drive limit in time for Christmas.

    breath test

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has taken steps which, if approved by the Scottish Parliament, would mean a new limit being introduced on 5 December.

    Under the plans, Scotland's blood alcohol limit would be cut from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

    It would mean the legal limit in Scotland would be lower than that south of the border.

     
  72.  
    08:02: Paul McLaren BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and a warm welcome to Friday's instalment of Scotland Live as we offer you a comprehensive round-up of news, sport, travel and weather between now and 18:00.

     

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