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An agreement has been reached that will lift the threat of administration from fabrication firm BiFab and see work continue on the current contract for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm.
A financial package to complete the contract has been provided by Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE and the partners to the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project, JCE Offshore. The Scottish Government has also indicated that it will, if necessary, make available a commercial loan facility to BiFab.
The agreement follows work by the Scottish Government over the last week and intensive negotiations over the last two days led by the First Minister, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Fairwork and the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy with Bifab, Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE, Siemens, and the partners in the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project.
The commercial agreement will see BiFab receive payments to alleviate immediate cash flow issues enabling the threat of administration to be lifted and ensuring the full funding of the Beatrice contract. Ministers recognise that work remains to be done to secure the long term future of the company.
The First Minister, Cabinet Secretary and Business Minister also met with Unite and the GMB to discuss the agreement and ministers will remain in close discussion with BiFab regarding longer term prospects for the company and the prospect of future contracts.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I am pleased that after an extensive series of talks over the last week and two days of intense negotiations we have been able to broker a commercial agreement that lifts the threat of administration from BiFab and allows work on the current contract to continue.
“In particular I welcome the moves made by Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE and the partners in the Beatrice Project, JCE Offshore and Siemens to resolve this situation and enable BiFab to continue its work on this contract.
“Over the last seven days we have worked to ensure all partners understood the urgency of the position BiFab found themselves in and the part they could play in relieving the financial pressure on the company. Seaway Heavy Lifting and SSE in particular have chosen to back BiFab today to complete their contract and that is a real vote of confidence in the company and the workforce.
“I know that this has been an anxious time for people employed at BiFab, as well as their families and the wider communities of Burntisland, Methil and Arnish and the trade unions have ensured that the importance of this company was made clear to all companies involved.
“All companies including BiFab have had to take difficult decisions to secure this outcome. While this deal lifts the immediate threat of administration, we recognise that there is a lot of work still to do to secure the long term position.
Ministers will continue to work with BiFab, the trade unions and industry partners to identify ways to secure the long term future of renewables manufacturing on these sites.”
http://www.gov.scot/CrownCopyright (Emphasis our own.)