Swan yard deal raises hope of jobs

JOHN WILLCOCK

Financial Correspondent

Unions and receivers were jubilant last night at the 11th-hour rescue of the Swan Hunter shipyard by Hartlepool-based THC Group, which could create up to 600 jobs.

The sale forestalls an auction of the Wallsend yard on the Tyne and its remaining shipbuilding equipment scheduled for next week. Viewing for the 9,000 lots was due on Friday.

Henry Butcher & Co, auctioneers, expected to obtain at least pounds 3m for the equipment alone. Although Price Waterhouse, the receivers, refused to name the sale price, observers expect it is likely to be around the pounds 7.5m PW named as a minimum last year.

THC put in a bid last November which the receivers rejected, after a number of other proposed bids had fallen through. THC put its latest offer in just 12 days ago, and the speed of the deal means that the business plan is still at a preliminary stage.

Unions hope that up to 600 jobs will be created by new orders for oil production platorms for the North Sea. Such floating platforms use new technology that replaces the need for tall, stationary platforms previously in use.

THC aims to become the market leader and hopes for orders of up to 24 vessels at a cost of pounds 100m-pounds 150m each.

Glen Wilson, commercial manager at THC, said: "This current investment represents a commitment to our continued development in this industry. The management are confident that with the co-operation and support of the local community and the various regional and national agencies concerned with industrial development, a hugely successful operation will emerge."

While some reports yesterday put the potential for new jobs at 1,000, the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation put it "in the hundreds, depending on how the yard wins orders".

Alistair Balls, TWDC's chief executive, said it had contributed pounds 500,000 towards the capital costs of the project and was helping the yard to prepare an application to the Department of Trade and Industry for regional selective assistance.

Mr Balls said: "This is good news for Tyneside. THC has an excellent track record and is one of Europe's leading companies in the manufacture of offshore modules and equipment."

It is not clear whether the Swan Hunter name will survive. THC already has 500 employees building offshore vessels at its Hartlepool, Cleveland, base.

Eddie Darke, the former union convener and Swan campaigner, said: "This is brilliant news. I understand there will be as many as 600 jobs created at peak periods. We are long overdue something to lift the spirits of the people on North Tyneside."

Swan Hunter was put into receivership in May 1993 after a Ministry of Defence order for a helicopter carrier fell through. Analysts said it was a victim of the ending of the Cold War, which left the UK with the capacity to support only two naval shipyards, Yarrow, owned by GEC, and Barrow-in-Furness, owned by VSEL.

Swan Hunter has built more than 1,600 ships since it was founded in the 1830s, including the liner, the Mauritania. Its last ship, HMS Richmond, was delivered to the Royal Navy before Christmas. At one point the yard employed more than 3,000, and the 2,200 remaining were quickly whittled down after the receivership to just 39 this spring.

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
Sport
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea players celebrate Demba Ba's goal and Gus Poyet
sportLive coverage of today's final game between Chelsea and Sunderland
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
VIDEO
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit