Tuesday, August 25, 2020

More UK Shipbuilding and Repair facilities Acquired by British Investment Firm

Two Historic Shipyards Bought by Infrastructure Development Group
Shipping News Feature

UK – With virtually all shipbuilding in Britain now having moved abroad Eastward comes a tale of investment in the 'historic and highly strategic' Appledore Shipyard in North Devon in a £7 million deal.

UK-based, London Stock Exchange-listed InfraStrata plc which specialises in the development, commercialisation and operation of infrastructure facilities has followed up its acquisition of the famous Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast last year and says this reinforces the company as a major player in the UK maritime and offshore engineering industry.

The acquisition includes 29 acres of freehold land situated on the waterfront, 322,975 square feet of undercover fabrication halls, 119 metre length of undercover dry-dock plus 500 metres of quayside at the Newquay yard for ship repairs, together with a variety of other facilities and stock.

As part of its new remit, the shipyard will provide complete lifecycle management from technical services, fabrication & construction, to in-service support, repair and maintenance, and conversion all the way to decommissioning. It will also be able to accommodate other projects like steel fabrication for industry and construction. InfraStrata envisages each yard to be a standalone business unit in its own right, i.e. each yard will have its own profit and loss account, balance sheet, business contracts and lines of financing.

H&W (Belfast's) contracts will tend to be large and spread over a number of months and years, given the scale of the business that it is currently negotiating. H&W (Appledore's) contractual profile on the other hand, is expected to consist of smaller contracts and will tend to be fast-moving, in addition to larger new build contracts that will be spread over several years. InfraStrata CEO John Wood explained the company’s policy:

“We see Appledore playing a key role in an exciting new era for UK shipyards and shipbuilding; supporting our industry and revitalising economic growth. Globally, there is an estimated £6 billion pipeline of opportunities over the next five years, which we expect both yards to benefit from. In the UK there is currently insufficient shipbuilding capacity to meet demand. There are a substantial number of UK vessels that require replacement within the next 10 years, including 150 UK sovereign commissioned vessels.

Whilst most shipyards, both domestic and international, focus on the hugely competitive mid-market sector, InfraStrata believes the most significant growth opportunities lie at either end of the spectrum, and Wood continued:

“With two dry docks in H&W (Belfast) each at 356 metres and 556 metres in length, H&W Belfast comprises of the two largest drydocks in the UK, the second largest in Europe. H&W (Appledore), on the other hand, with a covered drydock length of 119 metres, provides a vital asset for some of the smallest vessels.

”There are very few shipyards in the UK that can offer this type of undercover building dock and repair facility. Belfast is perfectly positioned to accommodate large-scale projects, while Appledore caters for vessels under 119 metres in length. By leveraging both yards we can provide flexible capacity management and economies of scale.

”We have a flexible and adaptable workforce able to deliver a wide range of contracts across five key sectors, commercial, defence, cruise and ferry, renewables, and oil and gas. Our ambition is to develop a modern, high-tech, and globally competitive export business capable of bringing significant investment to the UK.”

Jointly the InfraStrata group has the potential of employing 1,550 people, 800 at Harland and Wolff (Belfast), 350 at Harland and Wolff (Appledore), and 400 during the construction phase of the Islandmagee gas storage project.

Photo: John Wood on site.