Glasgow & West Scotland

Taxpayer owed £50m after Ferguson shipyard collapse

Glen Sannox Image copyright Getty Images

The taxpayer is owed more than £50m as a result of the collapse of ship building firm Ferguson Marine.

New figures from the administrator of the yard show £49.7m is owed to the Scottish government - nearly £5m more than previously revealed.

A total of £426,000 is also owed to HMRC.

The Scottish government said it provided two commercial loans totalling £45m to Ferguson Marine, on which interest applies.

The new figures also reveal that two partially-built CalMac ships at the centre of the firm's collapse have been valued at £48.3m.

That is nearly half the value of the £97m deal agreed to build the ships.

BBC Scotland understands that a number of bids have been received for the yard with an update from the administrator Deloitte expected within the next week.

Ferguson went into administration following a dispute with Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd - which buys and leases CalMac ships on behalf of the Scottish government - over the construction of two new ferries.

The shipyard is operating under a management agreement with administrators, which will see the Scottish government buy Ferguson if no private buyer comes forward.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Glen Sannox vessel has been awaiting completion at the yard

A "statement of affairs" produced by Deloitte shows the estimated total assets available for Ferguson Marine is £97.7m, including a £48.3m estimated value for the partially built two CalMac vessels.

Ferguson Marine went bust owning more than £73m. Further details from the document show that:

  • £15.8m is owed to finance firm HCCI
  • The Scottish government is owed £49.7m
  • A total of £3m is owed to Clyde Blowers Capital, owned by former Ferguson boss Jim McColl
  • There is an outstanding debt of £426,000 owed to HMRC
  • The 300-strong workforce is owed £164,000 in overtime, holiday pay and pension contributions
  • £1m is due to the European Commission.
  • And a further £3.9m is owed to business creditors, including a number of local Inverclyde companies.

'Catastrophically wrong'

Jamie Greene, Scottish Conservative transport spokesman, said report outlined "just how desperate the finances of the yard are".

"A full parliamentary inquiry is essential to get to the bottom of why the SNP let things go so catastrophically wrong at Ferguson Marine and come clean over the role they played in its demise," he added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A new review board had been set up to deal with the completion of the two ferries with a view to outlining a programme for completion of the vessels

A number of potential private buyers have expressed an interest in the Ferguson shipyard and Deloitte has now received bids for the yard, but has not said how many.

The monthly wage bill for workers at the yard is being met from Scottish government funds and a new board has been put in place to come up with a plan to finish the delayed CalMac ferries.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has said details of a "robust delivery schedule" for the vessels must be announced by the end of October.

"At all points the Scottish government has acted to ensure the completion of the ferry contracts, the protection of jobs and a future for the Ferguson ship yard and that remains our priority," a government spokeswoman said.

"The Scottish government provided two commercial loans totalling £45 million to FMEL on which interest applies."

A spokesman for Deloitte said: "We received a number of offers which we are currently working through and discussions with interested parties, in respect of their bids, are ongoing."

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