The future of Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab) has been secured through investment by a Canadian firm.
JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, has acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish Government.
DF Barnes said that the firm would provide “expertise and financial security” to BiFab, which has yards in Methil and Burntisland in Fife and Arnish in the Western Isles.
As part of the agreement, the Scottish Government will take a minority shareholding in the new company to demonstrate continued commitment to supporting the future of the yard.
Speaking in Methil, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are delivering on the commitment I made last year that we would stand by BiFab and work to secure a long term future for the company.
“We have been in negotiations with DF Barnes for a number of months and today is a significant step forward in our efforts to restore BiFab to its place at the centre of Scotland’s marine energy industry.
“DF Barnes acquisition is a key milestone for all three BiFab yards and as a sign of our commitment to the company’s future, the Scottish Government will maintain a close interest by taking a minority shareholding in the company.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead, and there is no magic bullet for these yards but the commitment of DF Barnes to securing a new future for the business at Burntisland, Methil and Arnish is a hugely positive step and I believe that gives BiFab the best chance of winning future contracts and securing new work.
“This announcement is also a tribute to the efforts of the trade unions and employees at BiFab whose dignified actions throughout this difficult time have played a huge part in enabling us to bring in new investors and creating new employment opportunities in Fife, the Western Isles and for the Scottish economy as a whole.”
DF Barnes CEO Jason Fudge said: “DF Barnes is excited to now have a major presence in Scotland.
“Scotland has been an admired world leader in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy sectors and we are delighted to join with the employees of BiFab and the people of Scotland to ensure the continued growth of BiFab for the benefit of all. This is a great day for us.”
BiFab, which employs around 1,400 workers, was saved from administration late last year by the Scottish Government issuing a loan of £15million to ensure they could meet their commercial commitments and contract deadlines.
The engineering firm has three yards in Scotland, with its Arnish yard on the Isle of Lewis under particular strain due to the end of renewables contracts.
Until recently, BiFab had been working on significant contracts in the outer Moray Firth and a multi-million pound agreement with the Beatrice offshore windfarm.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “This agreement gives the workforce, the company and the government the best possible chance of securing a vibrant future for these yards.
“The Scottish Government believes BiFab can be a thriving business, supporting Scotland’s offshore renewables and oil and gas industry as well as competing internationally.
“As the current contract comes to an end, and while efforts go into winning new work there will continue to be difficult times for the yard and there can be no guarantees that contracts will be won but I am confident this agreement, which sees the Scottish Government become a minority shareholder in the company, will deliver for BiFab’s future in Fife and the Western Isles.”
In a joint statement responding to this afternoon’s announcement, BiFab trade union leaders Gary Smith (GMB) and Pat Rafferty (Unite) said: “When the company fell into trouble last November, we called on everyone to pull together and battle for BiFab.
“Today’s deal is the culmination of that fight and we hope it’s the start of a very bright future for our members and their families.
“Let’s be clear that this would not have been possible without the determination and solidarity of the workers and their communities and of course, the continued efforts of the Scottish Government and their staff in securing this investment.
“We look forward to meeting with the new owners as soon as possible, to learn of their plans and to help secure the necessary contracts that can help deliver prosperity for Fife, Lewis and Scotland.”