MOVES to dissolve the nationalised shipyard firm at the centre of Scotland's ferry fiasco have been paused - while executive embark in a race against time to lodge statements on its financial status.

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 their annual accounts on December 31 but they are still due.

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

Ferguson Marine had confirmed the problems relate to audit issues that were beyond their control and have told Companies House officials they expect to file the accounts by the end of March.

Companies House has now discontinued the dissolution process off the back of the Ferguson Marine assurances.

Ferguson Marine has 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.

The firm is due to incur penalties of at least £1500 for late filing of four sets of accounts. 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 first surfaced last week and declared 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, still started the process to dissolve the four companies that make up the shipyard group that are all owned by the Scottish Government.

Two lifeline ferries, 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.

David Tydeman, chief executive of Ferguson Marine said: “We have been in communication with Companies House since missing the deadline and have explained the reasons for the delay that is currently beyond the directors’ control.

"We have been assured that Ferguson Marine will not be removed from the register provided we meet the undertakings we have given on filing by the end of March.

"We expect the accounts to be filed by the end of March, following adoption and approval by the Scottish Parliament, planned for mid-March. The directors and management team remain fully committed to delivering the two hulls currently under construction and winning new contracts to secure the yard’s future. This short term issue does not affect our ability to keep trading and continue the work in progress.”

A ferry user group official said: "This whole episode is another embarrassing chapter in the chaotic ferry delivery saga that cannot be underestimated There are clearly fundamental issues at play here that stop this company, that the taxpayer has been giving financial resuscitation to from doing what it has to do by law not onced but now twice.

The Herald:

"This breach of duty continues to hit the reputation of the yard and if it was in the private sector it would make raising finance more difficult because its credit score is likely to be affected."

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".