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Belfast's iconic Harland & Wolff secures £2m loan


Iconic: The Harland and Wolff cranes

Iconic: The Harland and Wolff cranes

Iconic: The Harland and Wolff cranes

BELFAST shipbuilders Harland and Wolff has secured a £2m (€2.36m) loan that will be used "immediately" for working capital purposes, its owners Infrastrata has announced.

The firm said the loan is for a term of 24 months with the principal amount repayable as a lump sum two years after the loan was acquired.

The loan has annual interest of 13.2pc, which is payable in equal monthly instalments in arrears. An exit fee of 4pc will be payable to the lender after the 24-month period.

Infrastrata also announced a restructuring of the sum of £555,555 that formed the second part of the £2.2m loan it took out to purchase the historic Belfast shipyard.

Under the restructuring, Infrastrata will no longer be required to make a repayment of £555,555 on 14 February.

Instead, a sum of £55,555 plus fees and accrued interest to date of £110,624 will be paid to the investors immediately, and the remaining £500,000 will be spread over a period of 10 months commencing 31 March and ending on 31 December.

The payment schedule will carry an interest rate of 12pc per year from 14 February, payable monthly in arrears. The remaining loan is not convertible into shares, save in the event of default.

John Wood, interim chairman and CEO of Infrastrata, said he was "pleased to have now put in place a debt facility for Harland and restructured the second tranche of the loan facility that we drew down in order to fund part of the costs of the Harland acquisition".

"The introduction of this asset-backed debt facility validates our thesis of leveraging physical assets and creating cashflow sources," he said.

"This has been possible due to the acquisition of Harland's physical assets, something that we would not have been able to achieve with the company's portfolio of intangible assets."

Belfast-based Whiterock Capital Partners LLP advised Harland on the structuring of this new loan.

Infrastrata's deal to buy Harland and Wolff saved the jobs of 79 workers, who had faced a bleak future when the Titanic builder went into administration last August.

In December, the energy infrastructure firm said Harland and Wolff was now "open for business" after taking possession of the shipyard in a £5.25m deal.

John Petticrew, a former vice president of operations at Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, was appointed managing director of Harland and Wolff just before Christmas.

The company also appointed Paul Blake, who had worked in a shipyard in Bahrain, as operations director, while Stephen Mills and Mark Giles have been appointed sales directors.

Talks over work with Spanish ship firm Navantia continue.

Irish Independent