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25 August 2014, 16:24
The sale of the ailing Ferguson shipyard could be completed in just two weeks after the administrators named their preferred bidder.
Clyde Blowers Capital, which was founded by Jim McColl, was selected after four bids for the Port Glasgow shipyard were received.
Talks are now taking place between Clyde Blowers Capital and the administrators with a view to completing the sale of the business - the last commercial shipbuilder on the River Clyde.
Mr McColl said Ferguson had the potential to become a leading name in the marine engineering sector, and work was under way to "develop a plan to rebuild Ferguson's''.
Ferguson Shipbuilders, which dates back to 1902, went into administration earlier this month after experiencing ''significant cash-flow pressure''
A total of 70 employees there were made redundant immediately.
Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and head of restructuring at KPMG in Scotland, said: "We would like to thank all parties who expressed an interest in securing the heritage and future of Ferguson Shipbuilders.
"There are still ongoing discussions to be had with Clyde Blowers, however we are now confident a sale can be achieved quickly.''
He added: "This is a positive first step towards the potential resumption of ship building and ship repair activities at Port Glasgow. We would also like to thank all parties for their continued support and patience during a challenging time for all concerned - employees, shop stewards, union representatives, the Scottish Government, Inverclyde Council and local elected members.''
Mr McColl, chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital, said: "We are pleased to have been selected as the preferred bidder for Ferguson's which we believe has the potential to grow into a leading marine engineering business.
"Work is now under way to develop a plan to rebuild Ferguson's. We look forward to working with all the key stakeholders in that rebuilding process.''
The announcement came after a special task force set up by the Scottish Government and Inverclyde Council met for the second time.
Finance Secretary John Swinny and Inverclyde Council leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: "Our commitment remains from the Scottish Government, its agencies and Inverclyde Council that we will do everything in our power to secure a future for Ferguson's and its employees. Our priority is securing the business as a going concern while providing necessary support to keep the workforce together.''
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "I am delighted that Clyde Blowers Capital has been named the preferred bidder for the Ferguson's yard. Jim McColl's company is one of Scotland's greatest job creators, and I will be meeting with the company, the workforce and shop stewards to ensure there will be a long-term future for shipbuilding at Ferguson's for years to come.
"I have spoken to the administrator today, and I'd like to thank him for the speed with which he has moved to try and secure a successful outcome.''