InfraStrata acquires Appledore shipyard in £7m deal

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A 165-year-old shipyard lain dormant since March 2019 has been bought by the same company that stepped in to save Harland & Wolff in Belfast.

HMS Echo was built at Appledore (Image: Royal Navy)

InfraStrata will pay £7m for Appledore Shipyard in Bideford, North Devon, which will be renamed H&W (Appledore) and will offer its undercover building dock and repair facility to vessels at the smaller end of the market.

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In a statement, InfraStrata said it believes “it can achieve a dominant position at two distinct ends of the shipyard market; the lower end of the market at less than 119 metres of dock length (with H&W (Appledore)) and the upper end of the market, requiring dock lengths of 300+ metres (with H&W (Belfast)).”

The current site manager is H&W (Appledore)’s sole employee, but InfraStrata said it is confident “the workforce can be very quickly ramped up upon execution of contracts, discussions for which are already being undertaken with both government and private vessel owners.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Matt Roberts, GMB Organiser, said:“We have always firmly believed that the yard can be viable and thrive in the right hands.

“Our members will be excited to be teaming up with the iconic Harland & Wolff shipbuilding family and working closely with the famous Belfast yard. This is a huge boost for the whole community in North Devon."

InfraStrata expects the newly acquired dockyard to successfully compete for contracts in the ferry, defence, commercial fabrication, oil and gas, and renewables markets by offering services including fabrication and construction, repairs and maintenance, in-service support, conversions and decommissioning. As well as tendering and bidding for its own set of contracts, H&W (Appledore) will be able to take on spill-over of work from H&W (Belfast).

Given the size and capabilities of H&W (Appledore), InfraStrata believes that “it will be the ‘go-to’ yard in the region for small vessel requirements across these five markets and six sectors.”