On 17 December 2018 Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) formally lodged a document entitled ‘Report and Financial Statements, 31 December 2016’ with Companies House. This included a ‘Strategic Report’ which was signed off by an FMEL director on 14 December 2018.
(The documentation can be found here: ‘Full Accounts made up to 31 December, 2016’ at https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/SC485060/filing-history?page=2 ).
The purpose of this post is to offer a different view on the issue of ‘ferries’ that has become the obsession of opposition politicians and parts of the media in Scotland. In particular, the aim is to highlight the assessment FMEL’s directors were making of the Ferguson yard, its capabilities and business prospects.
In the light of what has transpired, to begin it is worthwhile reproducing this from the opening, ‘Overview’ section of the Strategic Report. Note the claimed competencies:
Elsewhere in the same report there is this assessment:
On the face of it, due to the involvement of FMEL for a period in the ownership of the Ferguson yard there is a legacy of at least £19 million of private sector investment. And in the words of this FMEL report, a ‘modern competitive shipbuilding facility’ has been created. Might this have been an original and overarching strategic aim of the Scottish Government?
The Strategic Report also highlights the employment impact of keeping the Ferguson yard open.
FMEL’s Strategic Report makes much of the yard’s technical and innovation capabilities:
So the innovation capability and experience within FMEL even led to its CEO sitting on a UK government expert advisory group! (For more on the Clean Maritime Council established by the UK Department of Transport see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/clean-maritime-revolution-starts-voyage )
The Strategic Report sets out FMEL’s view, as of late 2018, as to the market position and prospects for the yard.
The report itemises a number of business opportunities:
a) Ferry, fishing boat and other vessels:
b) ’FMEL Technical Services’ and ‘FMEL Deployable Resources’:
So, from the above it would appear that the contract for two ferries had been awarded by CMAL to a company, FMEL which won approval from the MOD for undertaking future defence-related contracts!
It seems that other parties viewed this company, FMEL as credible and capable!
e) Decommissioning – work on decommissioning of oil & gas production facilities.
The Strategic Report also sets out risks to the business, including ‘Market and Economic Risks’.
Note the references to FMEL’s ‘significant and growing pipeline’ of opportunities – presumably associated with prospective customers who viewed FMEL as a credible supplier?
The purpose here has been to re-balance the public discourse about the award of the ferries contract to FMEL. The contents of FMEL’s Strategic Report, signed off in late 2018, point to a company that is maintaining a positive view of the Ferguson yard’s capabilities and prospects, and a company that is receiving endorsements from credible third parties for this position.