BiFab goes into administration after government financial support withdrawn

BiFab has entered administration after the Scottish Government withdrew financial help.

The company's future went into doubt after Holyrood withdrew financial guarantees supporting the manufacturing of eight offshore wind turbine jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project off the coast of Fife.

Last month in a joint statement by both the Scottish and UK Governments, they said a conclusion was reached that there was no legal route to provide further financial support to the business.

BiFab has yards in Burntisland and Methil, as well as in the Isle of Lewis.

The company once had a workforce of 1,400 people.

In a statement from BiFab, it said: "BiFab can confirm that the board has agreed to place the company in administration following the Scottish Government’s decision to remove contract assurances.

"The company has worked tirelessly to bring jobs into Fife and Lewis with some success.

"However, the absence of supply chain protections in Scotland and the wider UK have consistently undermined our ability to compete with Government owned and Government supported yards outside and inside the European Union.

"We would urge the Scottish and UK Governments to address these structural challenges as a matter of urgency in order to ensure that the benefits of offshore renewables are shared more widely with communities across the country."

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said it will continue to battle to bring any possible work to the yards.

He said: "Today’s announcement is the latest stage in a sorry saga of government and corporate failure with the victims being workers and their families from Fife to the Islands. 

"These failures began over a decade ago with false promises of Scotland becoming ‘The Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ without an investment and industrial strategy to match.

"No statement of commitment to move forward and create clean energy and renewables supply chain jobs will be believed unless government and big business accept their previous failings. 

"The current mistrust goes to the heart of workers’ faith in a Just Transition and without a Just Transition the whole journey towards net zero is at risk.

"Despite plans for billions of pounds of offshore wind investment, manufacture and construction, major elements of future projects including jacket construction currently appear destined for low cost labour countries in the East and/or state supported European competitors.

"We do not intend to give up. 

"While there is the faintest hope to bring immediate work to the yards, we will fight for it. 

"And whatever happens on the NNG contract we will be pushing governments north and south of the border to bring forward an urgent plan for jobs driven by an overhaul or procurement policy and step change in investment."

Meanwhile, Holyrood's Economy Secretary has insisted today there still isn't a legal route for either the Scottish or UK Government to provide further financial support to the company.

Fiona Hyslop MSP said: "I know this will be an extremely worrying time for BiFab’s workers and we will continue to do everything in our power to support them and stand ready to work with any company interesting in taking on the yards.

"The skills and dedication of the workforce is recognised throughout the renewables and offshore industry and will play an important role in our future energy ambitions.

"The Scottish Government has been working for more than three years to support BiFab through the financial difficulties it has faced and remains committed to securing a future for the yards and the workforce.

"As a minority shareholder, we have been exhaustive in our consideration of the options available to us to support BiFab.

"There is no legal route for either the Scottish Government or the UK Government to provide further financial support to the company as things stand.

"In order to successfully secure and deliver new contracts, BiFab required working capital, the provision of appropriate assurance packages by the shareholders, and plans for investment at the sites.

"Despite commitments made at the time of acquisition, this is something the majority shareholder JV Driver was not willing to provide to secure future work. 

"We will now work with the administrators and trade unions to secure a new future for the BiFab yards in Fife and the Western Isles, helping ensure they are able to diversify and compete in this competitive market.

"We have also committed to establish a joint working group with the UK Government to explore how existing policy measures can be used to strengthen the renewables and clean energy supply chain in Scotland.

"We continue to call on the UK Government to take more radical action to ensure that local renewables developments move away from a focus solely on price and better support the domestic supply chain."

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