Thomas Cook

4th October 2019

Harland & Wolff remains afloat after acquisition

Back in August, Plimsoll looked at the prospect of acquiring the shipbuilding company famous for constructing the HMS Titanic, Harland & Wolff.

Our analysis showed that the company was worth considering, and that the UK shipbuilding industry appeared to be performing well on average.

However, the Belfast landmark has been acquired by InfraStrata, a company that works on energy infrastructure projects, in a £6million deal that has allowed all existing Harland & Wolff staff to keep their jobs.

The new UK based owners are said to be focussed on development and commercialisation of advanced, high-value energy infrastructure, internationally. The acquisition seems an obvious and sensible move given that H&W have in recent years moved away from shipbuilding primarily to wind energy and marine engineering projects.

John Woof, CEO of InfraStrata said: ”Harland and Wolff is a landmark asset and its reputation as one of the finest multi-purpose fabrication facilities in Europe is testament to its highly skilled team in Belfast.”

Looking at Plimsoll’s analysis of the UK Wind Turbine Manufacturers industry, the acquisition of Harland & Wolff by the energy infrastructure key-player begins to make even more sense. The industry, although having benefited from an increase in profits last year, is desperately struggling for growth. Over 50% of companies analysed are selling less than they were the previous year.

Acquisitions in a falling market are a great way for suitors to immediately increase their market share and growth.

The Plimsoll analysis of UK Marine Engineers also appears to be quite volatile, having seen a decline in growth and profit in previous years. However, there is still opportunity for prosperity in the industry, as demonstrated by the almost 50% of companies in the industry being rated as ‘strong’ in Plimsoll’s analysis. Due to the lack of growth, we should expect to see even more suitors that are equipped to acquire attractive opportunities in the industry take action.

To summarise, the landmark business appears to be in good hands and should certainly benefit the acquirer in terms of market share and growth. The preservation of 79 jobs at the business and potentially increasing the workforce significantly in coming years will also be welcome news to employees and the Belfast area.

To find out if your industry is struggling for growth and spot attractive acquisition opportunities to increase your marketshare, search your industry here.