Canadian take-over saves BiFab offshore engineering firm from bankruptcy and brings hope for new jobs and energy orders

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, on the picket line with Bi-Fab workers in Fife over Beatrice wind farm wages dispute last year.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, on the picket line with Bi-Fab workers in Fife over Beatrice wind farm wages dispute last year.

New investment has been secured for Scottish engineering fabrication firm BiFab and its yards at Methil and Burntisland in Fife and Arnish in the Western Isles,

Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, has acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish Government to support new opportunities at these yards for fabrication and construction in the marine, renewables and energy sector.

As part of the agreement, the Scot-Govt will take a minority shareholding in the new company to demonstrate continued commitment to supporting the future of the yard.

JV Driver is one of Canada’s largest independently owned industrial construction companies. Its subsidiary, DF Barnes has been a consistent employer in the oil and gas, fabrication and marine industries for over 80 years.

DF Barnes and JV Driver will bring project expertise and financial security to the company as it bids for new contracts. BiFab will in turn bring global reach and expansion to DF Barnes to the benefit of both organisations in Scotland and in Canada. 

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister and Scottish Industry Minister, Keith Brown met with JV Driver and DF Barnes managers at the BiFab yard at Methil before meeting the GMB union and shop stewards to discuss the agreement. 

Commenting on the announcement, Scottish Trades Union Congress General Secretary Grahame Smith, said: “This result is testimony to magnificent worker solidarity, and a strong example of active state intervention in the economy by the Scottish Government.”

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance and Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil have praised the new investment secured for fabrication firm BiFab and its yards at Methil and Burntisland in Fife and Arnish in the Western Isles.

Torrance said: “BiFab is a vital part of the local economy in Burntisland and Methil, and I would also like to pay tribute to the efforts of the trade unions and employees who pulled together to help bring in new investors and secure a long-term future for the company.

“This announcement is not only fantastic news for the workers in Burntisland, Methil and in Lewis, it also has hugely positive implications for Scotland’s marine energy sector and the wider Scottish economy.”

MacNeil added: “This is brilliant news for the workers at the Arnish site in Lewis and will help to encourage new orders.

“This investment will help ensure we have the engineering skills and fabrication capacity in our economy to deliver on our ambitious climate change targets in Scotland.

 “Over the longer term, BiFab will need to continue working hard to win more contracts and I will be delighted to work with the employees to ensure its continued growth for the benefit of the Western Isles, Fife and the whole of Scotland.”

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.”

18 Apr 2018

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