Scotland politics

Inverclyde shipyard to be bought by Scottish government

Ferguson shipyard and Newark Castle Image copyright Getty Images

Ferguson Marine is to be nationalised after administrators rejected three commercial bids for the shipyard.

The Scottish government, which is operating the firm under a management agreement, is now set to take formal ownership of the yard.

Ministers said the three commercial bids were rejected because nationalisation was a better outcome for the yard and creditors.

Nearly £50m of taxpayer loans to Ferguson Marine have been written off.

A statement issued by the Scottish government said administrators had concluded that three indicative offers for Ferguson Marine were either "not capable of being executed or do not represent a better outcome for creditors".

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 £97m ferries.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An order for CalMac ferries has been at the centre of a dispute

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: "We have always been clear that we want to complete the vessels, secure jobs and give the yard a future.

"Administrators have concluded that despite other bids being submitted for the yard, the Scottish government's offer presents the best outcome for creditors.

"While there is still more to be done, our actions have ensured that there will be a future for Fergusons."

Administrators are now in discussion with Scottish ministers to agree final terms of a sale and expect this to be executed within the next four weeks.

Engineering tycoon Jim McColl, the former owner of the Ferguson shipyard, had indicated he was ready to resume involvement in the yard.

And earlier this month Ferguson shipyard was part of the consortium which won the £1.25bn contract to build five Type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy.

However, it is unclear how much of this work will be carried out at the Port Glasgow facility.

About 300 people work at the yard and they will be addressed by Mr Mackay on 7 October.