THE Scottish Greens have demanded more information about a taxpayer-funded £30m loan to a business bought by one of Nicola Sturgeon’s economic advisers.

The SNP Government yesterday announced it was giving the money to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL), despite questions over its financial disclosures.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the money would provide “working capital” for the Clyde shipbuilder alongside private investment intended to help diversify the business.

The Port Glasgow yard was acquired by billionaire Jim McColl, a member of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisers, after it went into administration in 2014.

However it has been flagged on the Companies House website for not yet filing its annual accounts for 2016, which were due by September 2017.

The most recent public accounts are for the year ending December 2015.

Its immediate parent company, Ferguson Marine Engineering (Holdings) Ltd, is also nine months overdue filing its annual accounts, according to the Companies House website.

Ferguson Marine last night said it had an approval for late filing, but did not explain why it needed it - extensions are normally granted for events outwith a company’s control.

There is no public record of a late filing approval on the Companies House website. Both firms are ultimately owned by Mr McColl’s Clyde Blowers empire.

Green MSP John Finnie said: “Transparency is vital when public funds are concerned, and this substantial loan must be held up to scrutiny.

“Ship servicing and repair, low carbon marine projects and decommissioning work are all very worthy but it’s clearly a concern if public funds are being used to support a company with a chequered history.”

Mr Mackay said one of Mr McColl’s investment vehicles, Clyde Blowers Capital, would also invest alongside the loan to diversify the yard’s work.

Mr McColl recently spoke of expanding into green energy.

The year after Mr McColl acquired Ferguson’s it won a £97m contract to build two new ‘dual fuel’ ferries for government-owned CalMac, securing work for the 150 staff.

However the contract has not gone smoothly, with the first vessel delayed from May this year to the winter, despite Mr McColl assuring ministers in early 2017 that it would be on time.

Ferguson Marine finance director Tom Cousins said: “This loan will allow us to accelerate our diversification into areas of innovation in green energy and marine transport and other opportunities such as decommissioning, on which where we are well-place to capitalise.

“We have approval from Companies House for the extension on the filing of our accounts. This was not a government bail-out. The investment alongside Clyde Blowers Capital is to support continued diversification.”

Mr Mackay said: “Commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde has a long and proud history, and it is essential that we continue to support this important industry and help it reach its full potential.

“This investment allows FMEL to further diversify their business by moving into innovative areas, like low-carbon marine projects, and target decommissioning work.

“The loan is a strategic investment in our industrial capability as both the marine engineering sector and commercial shipbuilding have vital roles to play in Scotland’s future.”