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by Andrew Learmonth
30 April 2021
Taxpayer-owned shipyard made £100m loss

Taxpayer-owned shipyard made £100m loss

The taxpayer owned Ferguson Marine shipyard made a £100m loss in the first few months of nationalisation, according to accounts filed with Companues House. 

The Port Glasgow firm, tasked with delivering vessels for CalMac, was taken over by the Scottish Government in August 2019 after it collapsed owing £49m.

The yard had been rescued from administration by industrialist Jim McColl just four years earlier. 

But the £97m deal fell massively behind schedule, with a major row between McColl, CalMac owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMal) and the Scottish Government over the terms of the contract agreed, and the design of the two new ferries.

The Glen Sannox and another unnamed vessel are now expected to come in three years late, costing around £230m.

Accounts published on Wednesday show that Ferguson Marine made a £100m comprehensive loss between 12 August 2019 and 31 March 2020.

In a letter to a government committee in March, Ferguson Marine director Tim Hair said the loss did not reflect the performance of the Inverclyde shipyard.

He said that as a result of contractual changes "the reported loss will not be realised and will therefore be reversed in the accounts for the year ending 31 March 2021 which will show a corresponding profit".

Hair added: "Both the 2020 loss and the 2021 profit are simply accounting matters that are not reflective of the underlying performance of the shipyard, and do not have any impact on the estimated costs to complete the ferries."

Last year, the Scottish Parliament's rural economy and connectivity committee said the procurement of the boats from the Ferguson Marine yard in Port Glasgow was "a catastrophic failure".

Audit Scotland announced last week that they would probe the ferry contract. 

A spokesperson said: “Public bodies must be satisfied and demonstrate that they are achieving value for money in their use of public funds.

“Audit Scotland will shortly commence a performance audit looking at the financial management of the contract to deliver vessels 801 and 802.

“The detailed scope of the audit has not yet been determined but it will consider the arrangements and costs for completing the two vessels.”


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