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Mustang deal saves 30 jobs




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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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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