Harland and Wolff shipyard falls into administration

Wed, 07 Aug 2019 | ADMINISTRATION



Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic, has gone into administration after its owner failed to find a buyer.

The shipyard, which is owned by Norwegian firm Dolphin Drilling, has long dominated the skyline of the Northern Irish city, with the site itself on a long lease from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

Commenting on the company's position on Monday, a spokesperson said: "There has been a series of board meetings, the result of which is that administrators will be appointed over the course of the day."

Lawmaker Gavin Robinson, who represents the East Belfast constituency where the plant is located, has said he has "pulled all the political levers" he can but failed to prevent the appointment of administrators, thus leaving the shipyard's workers uncertain about their future.

Harland and Wolff first opened in 1861 but reached its peak during the Second World War, when it employed more than 30,000 people. However, the company's success has been declining for over half a century and it now focuses solely on energy and marine engineering projects, employing just 130 people.

The shipyard's turnover has also dropped significantly in recent years, falling from almost £67 million in 2015 to £8 million in 2016, when the company also recorded a loss of £7 million.

The administrators will now search for a new potential buyer as they seek to restart the sales process. While the previous efforts to find a buyer have been unsuccessful, administrators remain hopeful due to previous success selling part of the site. One previous sale led to part of the shipyard being transformed into a museum dedicated to the Titanic, while the building where the ship was originally designed is now home to a four-star hotel.


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