Appledore Shipyard is set to reopen, it has been announced.
The historic shipyard has been acquired by Infrastrata, the owners of Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff.
The deal will see the shipyard, which was closed by Babcock in March 2019, renamed H&W Appledore.
Infrastrata acquired the Belfast yard in December 2019, and believe the Appledore facility will be the ‘go-to’ yard in the region for small vessel requirements.
It said while each yard will be a standalone business in its own right, Appledore would be ideally placed to handle any extra work from Belfast.
The acquisition only comes with one employee – the site manager – but the company believes the workforce can be ‘very quickly ramped up’ upon the execution of contracts, and said discussions with the Government and private vessels were already under way.
The news has been welcomed by Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox, who said it was ‘excellent news for the local community’.
Mr Cox said: “Over the past eighteen months I have been engaged in constant and vigorous discussions with my cabinet colleagues, key decision makers in Whitehall, overseas customers and the industry, in support of reopening Appledore Shipyard.
“It has always been the case that the yard needed a credible and established new owner with a viable business plan for long-term operations.
“I have been committed to doing all I could to see this historic shipyard reopen and I was ready to support any credible proposals to bring shipbuilding back to Appledore.
“I have had continuing dialogue and discussions with Infrastrata since they expressed interest in the yard, but it has been necessary to maintain a tight commercial confidentiality.
“Their purchase of the yard is excellent news for the local community, ensuring, as it does, the future of the yard and its workforce.
“I will continue to support the firm and our superb Shipyard to ensure the Government’s strong backing as they develop their business and realise the yard’s potential.”
John Wood, Infrastrata’s chief executive officer, said: “I am delighted that the company has acquired Appledore shipyard and this is another important milestone in the growth of the company.
“We have been fortunate that these assets have become available. The acquisition at this point in time is opportunistic for the company and one that should not be missed.
“It not only gives us a strategic foothold in mainland UK but also makes the overall business highly competitive in the smaller and higher ends of the shipyard market, respectively. I look forward to growing this business along with our flagship Harland and Wolff (Belfast), with the primary aim of attaining a cash break-even status as soon as possible.”