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Buyer for Titanic yard

Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard sold to energy firm

Yard reprieved: a buyer has stepped in (pic: Harland & Wolff)

The Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, still best known for building the Titanic, has been bought for £6m by InfraStrata, a London-based energy firm.

Harland and Wolff went into administration in August following the collapse of its Norwegian parent company. InfraStrata says it will retain the 79 workers who are still employed from a staff of 120 at the time of the collapse.

It hopes to increase the workforce by “several hundred” over five years, it said.

InfraStrata will initially focus on metal fabrication for its energy projects including a gas storage project and it is also planning a separate, floating gas storage facility.

InfraStrata 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.”

Unite regional officer Susan Fitzgerald said the workers had “defied the cynics” and expects them to return this week.

“As well as safeguarding their own futures, the workers have sent a message that will be heard across Northern Ireland, most immediately by Wrightbus workers in Ballymena,” she said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said he was “delighted” by the news and the fact that the skills and experience of the existing workforce would be retained.

“I firmly believe that the shipyard has a promising future and InfraStrata’s plans present an exciting opportunity for both Belfast and Northern Ireland’s manufacturing and energy sectors,” he said.

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