Completion of £5.25m shipyard acquisition

The completion of the £5.25m acquisition of Harland and Wolff has been announced by European law firm Fieldfisher.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 2:22 pm
Staff at Harland and Wolff return to work. Photo Laura Davison/Pacemaker Press

The law firm assisted energy infrastructure company Infrastrata with the structuring and execution of a complex deal that saves the 150 year-old Belfast shipyard from collapse.

Infrastrata is the company behind plans to establish gas storage caverns underneath Larne Lough in Co. Antrim.

Fieldfisher says that the acquisition of the shipyard “boosts InfraStrata’s plans for the Islandmagee gas storage facility” by bidding to take over Harland and Wolff in a strategic move to bring in-house a large part of the engineering and fabrication requirements for the company’s Islandmagee gas storage project.

The law firm also stated that “as well as enhancing InfraStrata’s ability to deliver Islandmagee, a pioneering underground natural gas storage facility that will significantly boost UK energy security”, the successful conclusion of the deal safeguards the future of Harland and Wolff. Michelle Shean, insolvency and restructuring partner at Fieldfisher, who led the team advising InfraStrata, said: “We are delighted to have helped InfraStrata successfully conclude its purchase of Harland and Wolff and we look forward to assisting them with the next phases of developing Islandmagee. Fieldfisher is fortunate to be at the forefront of many critical UK energy developments, but we are particularly pleased to have been part of this unique project that simultaneously protects the future of an historic British asset and national energy security.”

John Wood, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Harland & Wolff is once again open for business. This is an important day for InfraStrata, the Harland & Wolff workforce and the region as a whole.

“With the keys now in hand, we will shortly be finalising a number of exciting contracts, as well asdiscussions with lenders, details of which I look forward to sharing very soon. Additionally, we will be seeking to bring in a few near-term revenue generating opportunities as quickly as possible which will strengthen our technical and operational capabilities for significantly larger projects in the future including our on-going gas storage and other energy infrastructure projects.”

“I would like to take this moment to welcome our new employees to the business and thank those who helped us get to this point. I am confident that, together, we can now secure and deliver meaningful projects which reaffirm Harland & Wolff’s international reputation as a quality manufacturer of maritime and energy infrastructure.”

Michael Jennings, Partner at BDO NI and Joint Administrator for Harland & Wolff commented: “We congratulate John and the team at InfraStrata and wish them every future success as the new owners of Harland and Wolff.

“Throughout this process we have been hugely cognisant of not only the international reach and recognition of the iconic Harland and Wolff brand, but also the important role the company has played in Northern Ireland’s history. Harland and Wolff is part of the fabric of the city of Belfast and we are delighted that it has been saved by InfraStrata.

“Having worked closely with the unions and staff, we know that the dedication and determination of both to see Harland and Wolff continue for generations to come is extraordinary. We are proud to have been involved in this process and we know that, under the leadership of InfraStrata, Harland and Wolff will continue to grow and prosper for many years.”