Firm that built Titanic pays £7 million
A Devon shipyard will reopen after being bought by a company called InfraStrata, which last year acquired Belfast construction firm Harland and Wolff (H&W). That’s the firm that famously built the Titanic
H&W’s Belfast base is the second largest shipyard in Europe and caters for large vessels. Although the company doesn’t think mid-sized ships is a good market to be in, Appledore, with a dock length of 119 metres, specialises in smaller ones.
It’s bought the business, which has been closed since March 2019, for £5.6 million in cash and shares worth a further £1.4 million and will now be renamed . As well as the North Devon facility, the deal comes with part of the quayside in Newquay for ship repairs. A statement from InfraStrata says: “There are very few shipyards in the UK that can offer this type of undercover building dock and repair facility and, given the number of sovereign vessels required in this category over the next ten years, the company believes that this is a market segment that cannot be ignored. Having studied several smaller facilities, the directors believe that H&W (Appledore) is, by far, the most suitable, from a locational, strategic and operational point of view and is well positioned to win contracts in this sector.”
Right now only one person works at Appledore; the site manager, but the new owners believe they can ramp up production once they win new orders.
The GMB union is happy. Organiser Matt Roberts says: “We are absolutely delighted with the confirmation that the yard will reopen. We have always firmly believed that the yard can be viable and thrive in the right hands.
“Our members will be excited to be teaming up the iconic Harland & Wolff shipbuilding family and working closely with the famous Belfast yard. This is a huge boost for the whole community in North Devon.”
Appledore shipbuilder Jake Mclean said: “We all welcome the news the iconic Harland and Wolfe yard has acquired our Appledore shipyard. This is great news after what has been a turbulent two years. Workers are looking forward to getting back building ships again in our famous yard.”