UK energy infrastructure group InfraStrata has agreed to buy Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast for £6 million.
London-listed InfraStrata said the facility would help it bring in-house a large part of the fabrication requirements for the company’s Islandmagee gas storage project in Northern Ireland.
The deal saves Harland and Wolff from closure. The yard, which built the Titanic, was put into administration in August after its Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, formerly known as Fred. Olsen Energy, filed for bankruptcy.
All 79 employees who did not opt for voluntary redundancy earlier in the year will be retained.
InfraStrata intends to take on several hundred workers over the next five years as it progresses the development of its infrastructure projects.
The number of employees at the Islandmagee project will also scale to 400 during construction and will employ 60 when in operation.
The project consists of several caverns with a storage capacity of 500 million cubic metres of gas about a mile beneath Larne Lough.
Islandmagee, a peninsula on the east coast of Antrim that shelters Larne Lough, is home to Northern Ireland’s main power station, Ballylumford, and is the terminating point of the Scotland-Northern Ireland gas pipeline.
Acquisition of the shipyard also presents opportunities to create secondary revenue streams through contracts in defence, maritime and the energy sectors, InfraStrata said.
Chief executive John Wood said:“Harland and Wolff is a landmark asset and its reputation as one of the finest multi-purpose fabrication facilities in Europe is testament to its highly skilled team in Belfast.
“This acquisition is a function of deep operational synergies between the various business segments of the Company with Harland and Wolff underpinning the construction economics of the Islandmagee gas storage project and other future Projects.
“We are delighted to be able to retain 100% of personnel who did not opt to take voluntary redundancy earlier this year.
“Our Islandmagee gas storage project will benefit greatly from their expertise in the energy sector, both technically and economically, and we look forward to growing the workforce significantly in the coming years.
“While our core priority will be to deliver our flagship project in Islandmagee, we believe there are opportunities to welcome potential new clients due to the diverse skill set at the facility.
“This acquisition will clearly provide substantial advantages through vertical integration in addition to demonstrating our commitment to the Northern Irish economy, particularly in the post-Brexit era.”