BiFab in administration: First Minister hits out at majority shareholder

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit out at BiFab’s majority shareholder over a lack of investment, saying it could have prevented the Scottish firm going into administration today.

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 1:32 pm
The new windfarm will be just a few miles away from the Methil yard.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon responded to a question by Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance on what support the workers at the Fife and Lewis-based fabricator would expect from the Scottish Government.

She said that while the Scottish Government’s hands were tied legally as the minority shareholder, further investment by the majority owner, “that may have been different”.

It follows claims that Canadian firm JV Driver had been unwilling to invest further in the company, which has yards at Burntisland and Methil.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “I'm deeply disappointed about this morning's developments.

“I know this is a deeply worrying time for workers and everybody associated with BiFab, and I want to give an assurance and a commitment that the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support a positive future.”

"We've worked hard in the past to avoid the closure of BiFab and that includes significant investment and equity and loan facilities on the part of the Scottish Government - we are a minority shareholder in BiFab and we will continue to work even now to secure the future.

"As any government does though we have to do that within the law.

"If there was more we could have done more within the law to avert what has happened today we would have done that. It would have made no sense for us not to do that.

"We were not able legally to provide the additional support that BiFab was seeking. Had the majority shareholder been prepared to invest that may have been different.

“We will now work with administrators, with trade unions, and with others to try and secure a positive future for BiFab - that's what we've always been committed to and we remain just as committed to it now.”

The Scottish Government became minority shareholder for BiFab in 2017, in a rescue deal along with JV Driver.

However, the company missed out during a bidding war for work on a windfarm just a few miles off the Fife coast