3:41pm Wednesday 26th February 2014
MORE than 100 jobs could be at risk after Mustang Marine – a Pembroke Dock-based boat building and ship repair facility - announced it could enter administration later this week or early next week.
The company, which was facing closure before Christmas, has been in difficulties since November when directors reported significant losses to its shareholders.
It was hoped that a rescue package, involving the Welsh Government, Milford Haven Port Authority and “an external third party”, would ensure the company’s long-term future.
But directors are now looking for other funding after the third party’s offer was withdrawn. An announcement was made to staff yesterday (Wednesday).
Mustang Marine interim managing director Stewart Graves said: “Unfortunately last week, after completing its review of the business, the external party withdrew its offer and without that party the long-term funding package could not proceed.
“The directors over the past few days have, with their professional advisers, sought other funding and are still trying to find a rescue package to secure the future of the business.
“It’s possible the company will go into administration later this week or early next week if a rescue package cannot be found.”
Mr Graves confirmed the company is “currently taking professional advice from Grant Thornton.”
Only last November economy minister Edwina Hart opened Mustang Marine’s new £1.5m boat building construction hall at Pembroke Port.
Port of Milford Haven chief executive Alec Don said the port, which is a trust port and a 50% shareholder in Mustang Marine, was “deeply concerned” and would continue to work towards a solution with the company and other stakeholders.
He added: “We understand this situation is causing anxiety for the staff at Mustang. We need to remain positive that Mustang Marine will find a way through current challenges and that it will come out of this as a reinvigorated business with a sound plan.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said he was “bitterly disappointed”. He added: “The failure of Welsh Minsters and the Port to reach agreement has huge ramifications for Mustang as a business, the workers and their families and those local Pembrokeshire companies who are still owed large sums of money by Mustang.
“The Port Authority invested in Mustang with a fanfare two years ago providing the strength of its reputation and balance sheet to boost the ship builder. It is galling that local companies could be left with huge unpaid debts because this investment has now turned sour.”
Mr Crabb said the port has an obligation to see that all small Pembrokeshire businesses owed money by Mustang Marine are repaid.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The Welsh Government will continue to work with the company and third parties to seek to secure the long term viability of the company.”
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