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Mustang deal saves 30 jobs

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TROUBLED Mustang Marine has been bought out of administration by a consortium of investors, securing thirty jobs it was announced yesterday. 

The value of the deal has not been disclosed. A consortium of nine individuals led by Stewart Graves has bought the company, which is based at Pembroke Dock. Mr Graves is the interim managing director put in place to run the company late last year by the Milford Haven Port Authority. A new construction hall at Mustang Marine?s base in Pembroke Dock was only opened by Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart in November 2013. In February, Mr Graves denied there were any plans to call in administrators when reports suggested the firm was in financial difficulty, describing the firm as being ‘tight for cash’. Later the same month the Herald was able to report that local businesses had been left owed hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mustang has had millions of pounds in funding from the Milford Haven Port Authority and a cash injection from the Welsh government. After calling in the administrators, Mr Graves revealed that the company had a significant cash shortage in December 2013 which left it facing closure. He said with assistance from a new management team and external advisers a long-term funding package was secured in February from the Welsh government and Milford Haven Port Authority and an external third party. However, after completing its review of the business, the external party withdrew its offer, and ?without that party the long-term funding package could not proceed?. The Pembroke Dock-based boat building and ship repair company officially entered administration at the beginning of March with the loss of 66 jobs. Questions were raised to Welsh Government in Cardiff regarding the Port Authority’s responsibilities to local firms and in March, Alec Don, Chief Executive of the Port Authority told The Herald: “The Port of Milford Haven is a 50% shareholder and remains a separate corporate entity to Mustang Marine. The Port is not liable for Mustang’s debts. Any specific questions about that business, including queries about creditors, must be directed to the administrators Grant Thornton.” “As a Trust Port we continually look to invest in growth and economic activity in the Port. On this basis, and in good faith, the Port of Milford Haven invested in Mustang Marine. The company approached us with a firm business plan and orders that required our support and investment to achieve.” However, in an interview at the time of Mustang Marine’s collapse, local MP Simon Hart said: “The fact that Pembrokeshire companies are owed hundreds of thousands of pounds seems to have been glossed over. The Port Authority cannot talk about growth and activity on the one hand and then refuse to even consider the plight of local people left out of pocket on the other. These people undertook work for Mustang as they felt comfortable that the company was part of a larger trading operation of which the Port was a central part.” It has now emerged that HSBC Bank and former Mustang Director Huw Lewis will be receive around £270,000 and £296,000 as secured creditors of the firm, while former employees can expect a share of around £105,000 as preferential creditors. Those figures leave under £950,000 to be distributed to creditors owed more than £3.1m. According to its most recent set of publicly available accounts, the company had a £6m turnover in the year ending 31 August 2012. But turnover subsequently jumped to £9m following Mustang Marine’s £500,000 acquisition of Milford Haven Ship Repair from the MHPA. But the company also saw pretax profits of £847,817 in 2010/11 turn into pre-tax losses of £516,618 in 2011/12. Management accounts for the year to 31 August 2013 show the business then racked up further losses of £602,340, which were recently revised to losses of £1.1m. In a newly published statement of administrator’s proposals, dated 22 April 2014, Grant Thornton examined the dramatic turnaround. It reported that the directors attributed the losses to the company’s failure to hit predicted margins on new-build projects such as Supacat 1, disruption and delays on other contracts caused by delays on Supacat 1, ?375,000 spent on refurbishing its Pembroke Dock office, and a lack of robust business procedures. Grant Thornton were appointed administrators to the boat manufacturer in March this year. Alistair Wardell and Nigel Morris of the business advisory firm’s Cardiff office have now confirmed a sale of the boat-building and marine services arms. Immediately after entering administration, Mustang Marine made 66 staff redundant, with 48 kept on to continue work on a number of projects. The future of 30 of these employees has been secured by the sale, while a further deal for the dry dock part of the business that administrators expect to complete later this week looks set to save another ten jobs. The existing projects that the 30 staff will work on include building a Tidal Energy Turbine that will be installed in Ramsey Sound later this year. Lead administrator and head of Grant Thornton in Wales Mr Wardell, said: “We are delighted to have been able to conclude a deal for the boat building and marine services parts of the Mustang business. This is very good news for the 30 skilled employees who ave remained working for the company through the administration process. Their jobs are now secure, and the new owners are confident that the business will now grow with the aim of taking on further employees in the near future.” Administrators have said that the workers will be retained to work on projects including a tidal energy turbine. Grant Thornton said talks with ‘an interested buyer’ for the facility are continuing.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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