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Bridge in talks for Liberian oil deals

MOTHERWELL Bridge is in talks about more big contracts in Liberia as the company heads for another year of strong growth.

FITTING INTO PLACE: Motherwell Bridge has generated work for 80 local people at its project in the West African state of Liberia. Picture: Bob Hamilton
FITTING INTO PLACE: Motherwell Bridge has generated work for 80 local people at its project in the West African state of Liberia. Picture: Bob Hamilton

The North Lanarkshire engineering firm hopes to win orders to work on two oil storage tank facilities in the West African country where its expertise appears to be held in high regard.

The company said it has been praised by the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for progress it has achieved on a $22m (£14.2m) deal to renovate a key petrol storage facility in the country.

This is an important project in a country that is trying to recover from the effects of a conflict that engulfed the country from 1989 to 2003 and caused massive economic and social damage.

Scots hotel management expertise is also in demand in Liberia.

Motherwell Bridge started work last year on a project to build or renovate 22 oil storage tanks at a Liberia Petroleum Refining Company facility near the capital Monrovia.

With five tanks completed to date the project has generated work for around 80 local people, including 33 employed by Motherwell Bridge.

Chief executive Russell Ward said: "We are making employment provision a top priority for local residents and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the Liberian government in its drive for infrastructural development."

The success in Liberia is expected to help Motherwell Bridge see further growth after a strong performance last year.

Mr Ward said: "Results for 2013 are forecast to be ahead of budget, which is an increase on 2012, and the company is looking to maintain growth."

The company made a pre-tax profit of £2.2m in the year to December after losing £858,000 in the preceding year. Sales rose to £35m from £25.7m in 2011.

The company is also working on a project to refurbish 16 huge tanks that are used to store crude at the BP-operated Sullom Voe terminal on Shetland before it is shipped to market in tankers.

Motherwell Bridge emerged from the group of that name that was the subject of a so-called revolving door receivership in 2003. This was initiated by creditors, including the Bank of Scotland arm of the former HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The company has been owned by the Kuwait Finance House since 2008.

Marketing specialists in Glasgow are helping a hotel near Monrovia win business under a contract won by Redefine BDL Hotels in June to manage the RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas property.

Stewart Campbell, managing director of Redefine BDL, said at the time: "Professionalisation in how to attract guests and how to serve guests isn't there (in Liberia), and the back office support you need to attract people and to try to get people to come back."

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