THE taxpayer-supported nationalised shipyard firm at the centre of the nation's ferry fiasco has been sanctioned twice over its financial dealings before facing moves to be closed, the Herald can reveal.

Ferguson Marine, which was taken over by the Scottish Government four years ago after its financial collapse under the control of tycoon businessman Jim McColl were due to deliver accounts on December 31 but are still due.

Companies House, the UK Government executive agency which oversees the incorporation of firms across the nation has triggered a "strike off" process which could see Ferguson Marine and three other allied companies that are trying to deliver two long-delayed lifeline ferries formally closed.

Ferguson Marine have confirmed the problems relate to audit issues that were beyond their control.

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Ferguson Marine had already received financial sanctions amounting to at least £600 for failing to file details of financial affairs in good time three years ago before new leadership was brought in.

Now the firm is due to incur penalties of at least £1500 for late filing of four sets of accounts.

Ferguson Marine do not believe the accounts will be filed till the end of March. If it goes beyond March, the penalties will more than double.

The compulsory strike off process only begins after the firm is sent at least two formal letters of warning while detailing the issues they have.

According to Companies House a complete failure to file accounts is a criminal offence and directors can be personally fined in criminal courts.

A failure to pay late filing penalties can result in enforcement proceedings through the courts.

The first strike off notices, are due to be published on Tuesday and declare that the firms have two months before they are struck off and cease to exist as an official company.


Ferguson Marine say they had assurances that the firm will not be removed from the companies register as long as they meet the undertakings given that they will file the accounts by the end of March.

Companies House, however, have still begun the process to dissolve the four companies that make up the shipyard group that are all owned by the Scottish Government Glen Sannox and Hull 802 were due online in the first half of 2018 when Ferguson Marine was under the control of Mr McColl, with one intitially to serve Arran and the other to serve the Skye triangle routes to North Uist and Harris, but they are at least five years late. The last estimates suggested the costs of delivery had more than quadrupled from from the original £97m cost.

Ferguson Marine can apply for a suspension application to Companies House, but would be expected to resolve the issues that led to the process starting, including filing the missing financial statements and sending off other relevant business information. They may also have to provide proof that they are still trading.

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According to insolvency experts, as long as you can prove the company is viable and should not be struck off, there is a chance it will be suspended or discontinued.

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One ferry user group official said "heads must roll" and that there should be a full public inquiry over the continuing failures - after new executives were brought in to turnaround the shipyard.

"We were told that things would change with new management at Ferguson Marine, but if we are in a position where it is continuing to be sanctioned for failing to carry out their duties under the Companies Act which as a result threaten its future then you do have to wonder what has changed.

"It just is not good enough and at some point government and individuals have to take responsibility for these continued failings.

Two years ago the nationalised shipyard company failed to file four sets of financial accounts on time.

In May 2021, Ferguson Marine, which controls the last civilian shipyard on the Clyde were submitted after a March 31 deadline set by Companies House. The accounts of the three other allied companies also failed to meet the deadline.

While at the time the SNP repeatedly denied there were any late filings, sources at Ferguson Marine and Companies House confirmed the accounts were lodged 28 days late.

No strike-off proceedings were initiated at that point.

Ferguson Marine had said then that the first year of trading for the shipyard, which included a period when it was in administration had been "unusually complex".

There had been concern over the "severe mismanagement" of the shipyard partly due to the £2565-a-day being given to turnaround director Tim Hair, a Gloucester-based businessman, in a deal established by ex-finance secretary Derek Mackay.

Mr Hair, who had led the business since August 2019 and implemented a major transformation programme, departed in February last year following a short handover period.

Ferguson Marine had since appointed David Tydeman as its new chief executive officer to lead the business to "sustainable growth".

HeraldScotland: THERE is a marked air of positivity at Ferguson Marine as chief executive David Tydeman makes his mark in pulling the shipbuilders into the 21st century. Visiting the yard with reporter David Goodwin this week showed how much has changed since Mr

His appointment was greeted by finance secretary Kate Forbes who described it as an "important milestone" for the company and "reflects the progress made since the Scottish Government stepped in to save the yard and the jobs".

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She said: "David Tydeman brings four decades of industry experience and senior leadership to Fergusons and will be key to securing our long-term ambitions for the yard."

The Port Glasgow shipyard went into administration in August, 2019 and nationalised after its ferry-building endeavours were dogged by delays and overspends.

The development comes after the Herald on Sunday revealed that the cost to the taxpayer of Ferguson Marine has soared to more than £450m.

The sum is more than £200m more than what public spending watchdogs were expecting would be spent to finally deliver the two ferries at the centre of the Ferguson Marine debacle last year during its inquiry into the rising costs.

The Scottish Government has sanctioned the ploughing in of just over £330m into Ferguson Marine since it was nationalised at the end of 2019 - including a further £60.9m budgeted for the next financial year. - with the firm's primary aim to deliver the ferries.

It emerged that ministers have overspent against budget to the tune of over £120m over the last three years in the wake of continuing delays in the production of two vessels being built to serve island communities.

David Tydeman, chief executive of Ferguson Marine said after it emerged the striking off procedure had started: “The directors are disappointed to have missed the end of December deadline which is largely due to our auditors Grant Thornton closing some outstanding issues with Audit Scotland and the Scottish Government. Following adoption and approval by the Scottish Parliament, planned for mid-March, we expect the accounts to be filed with Companies House by end March 2023.”