BiFab Gets a Lifeline as Canadians Take Majority Share

Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, has acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish Government to support new opportunities at BiFab’s renewables and marine fabrication and construction yards in the UK.

As part of the agreement, the Scottish government will take a minority shareholding in the new company to demonstrate continued commitment to supporting the future of BiFab’s Methil and Burntisland yards in Fife and Arnish in the Western Isles.

According to the government, DF Barnes and JV Driver will bring project expertise and financial security to the company as it bids for new contracts, while BiFab will bring global reach and expansion to DF Barnes to the benefit of both organizations in Scotland and in Canada.

The First Minister and Economy Secretary, Keith Brown, who oversaw the negotiations for the Scottish government, met with JV Driver and DF Barnes executive leaders at the Methil yard before meeting the GMB union and shop stewards to discuss the agreement.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead, and there is no magic bullet for these yards but the commitment of DF Barnes to securing a new future for the business at Burntisland, Methil and Arnish is a hugely positive step and I believe that gives BiFab the best chance of winning future contracts and securing new work,” Brown said.

“This announcement is also a tribute to the efforts of the trade unions and employees at BiFab whose dignified actions throughout this difficult time have played a huge part in enabling us to bring in new investors and creating new employment opportunities in Fife, the Western Isles and for the Scottish economy as a whole.”

The Fife-based company won a GBP 100 million contract to supply 26 wind turbine jacket substructures for the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in June 2016. However, in November last year, BiFab faced a critical cash position due to a challenging situation regarding the ongoing contracts.

Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), SSE and the partners to the Beatrice offshore wind project, JCE Offshore, provided a financial package that made sure BiFab is safe until April and that it completes the Beatrice contract.

Photo: Image for illustrative purposes only. Source: BiFab