Is there hope for CS Wind?

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS -

Fol­low­ing court ac­tion by High­lands and Is­lands Enterprise (HIE) to stop South Korean man­u­fac­tur­ers from re­mov­ing equip­ment from CS Wind UK’s Machri­han­ish fac­tory comes news from the firm that it is ac­tively look­ing for more or­ders for the wind tower con­struc­tion plant, writes Han­nah O’Han­lon.

An in­terim in­ter­dict was agreed at the Court of Ses­sion last month by Lord Ericht; this fol­lows on from one is­sued in De­cem­ber last year.

The move by HIE does al­low the com­pany to re­move fin­ished tow­ers to ful­fil its re­main­ing or­ders.

The enterprise com­pany said that it took this for­mal step to pro­tect the as­sets at Machri­han­ish and make sure the fac­tory was ca­pa­ble of work­ing again; CS Wind has in­formed HIE that is work­ing to win new or­ders.

At its height the Machri­han­ish fac­tory had a work­force of more than 130; last Oc­to­ber came the news that the then 94 em­ploy­ees faced re­dun­dancy. Now it is be­lieved only six re­main at the closed-down plant; at­tempts by the Courier to con­tact CS Wind for com­ment have gone unan­swered.

As well as more than £3 mil­lion of gov­ern­ment funds pumped into the op­er­a­tion via HIE, there was a £27 mil­lon in­vest­ment from Siemens, lead­ing wind farm de­vel­op­ers, back in 2016.

In 2018 the pre-tax prof­its of the busi­ness were £7.1 mil­lion and its an­nual re­port that year said the com­ing fi­nan­cial year looked pos­i­tive ‘with a fur­ther in­crease in pro­duc­tion vol­ume ex­pected’.

A spokesman for the com­pany, based in South Korea, is on record with a na­tional news­pa­per as say­ing that it was in­volved in dis­cus­sions with HIE and that new or­ders were be­ing sought: ‘There is fluc­tu­a­tion in this kind of busi­ness so man­u­fac­ture can stop op­er­a­tion some­times and start again through re­hir­ing.’

But Pat Raf­ferty, Scot­tish sec­re­tary of the union Unite, said: ‘The fact that an in­junc­tion has been taken out against the com­pany to pre­vent it from as­set strip­ping equip­ment is un­heard of and high­lights the ma­jor con­cerns which gov­ern­men­tal bod­ies hold re­gard­ing the in­ten­tions of CS Wind.

‘The fac­tory should be one of the crown jew­els in Scot­land’s re­new­ables in­dus­try as it man­u­fac­tures on­shore and off­shore wind tur­bines, but it has been ly­ing idle for months now.

‘It’s time the own­ers of CS Wind moved on to other shores in order to al­low al­ter­na­tive own­er­ship op­tions to come for­ward, in­clud­ing forms of pub­lic own­er­ship so that we can work to­wards guar­an­tee­ing the fac­tory a suc­cess­ful fu­ture.’

The fu­ture of CS Wind UK, which is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing both on­shore tow­ers, left, and off­shore tow­ers, right, is un­cer­tain.

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