Harland & Wolff insists major shipbuilding contract discussions 'comfortable'

Harland and Wolff has dismissed speculation it could be at risk of closure with reports of a disagreement in the London government over an award of a major contract.

The company said it was continuing discussion with government officials and management 'remain comfortable' with the progress made on what it desribed as a complex and large transaction.

It said a further update would be provided in the coming weeks.

In January 2023, a consortium including H&W was selected as preferred bidder for a major shipbuilding contract which was to deliver three support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

It was expected to create around 900 jobs in Belfast with production to begin in 2025 with the ships ready by 2032.

On Tuesday, The Times reported of an "intense row" between the Exchequer and the Department of Defence over a £200million support package. It reported the chancellor had given the go-ahead to reject the company's application.

However a "Whitehall source" told the paper no decision had been made.

In a statement, the company said the article was "misleading and inaccurate".

John Wood, Group Chief Executive Officer, Harland & Wolff added: "We were disappointed to read this article and the reaction it has caused, given that we have grown the business to become a major player in the UK shipbuilding sector, whilst spreading our risk over multiple

"Our EDG application has not been rejected and continues to be work in progress. I expect to be providing a fuller update on our refinancing plans in the next few weeks".

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