MACDONALD WELCOMES RESURRECTION OF BALLANTINE’S FOUNDRY IN BO’NESS
Monday, 19 May 2014 09:32
The MSP for Bo’ness, Angus MacDonald, has welcomed the announcement that Ballantine’s Castings has opened for business following a successful bid to take over the 150 year old Ballantines Bo’ness Iron Company which went into administration in September 2013 and closed down officially at the beginning of the year.
The new business has been set up by Gavin Ballantine, the 29-year-old son of the former managing director of the plant which means seven generations of ironcasters from the same family have run the facility. Ballantine Castings is aiming to employ 32 staff, and take on 4 apprentices, with a £3m annual turnover.
Residents of the town were shocked when the firm closed as a number of healthy orders were on the books, and the firm held a valuable portfolio of patents which would have been lost had the assets not been saved.
As a result the incorporation of the new firm will help to guarantee the future of traditional iron founding in Scotland.
Accountants from business recovery firm BDO took over at Ballantine Bo’ness in September, but failed to find a buyer for the business, founded by the Ballantine family in 1857.
The company’s workforce dwindled from more than 70 to around 15 at the time of its liquidation earlier this month.
The move has been supported by a £98,000 regional selective assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise, and assistance from Falkirk Council’s Growth and Investment Unit and Business Gateway.
Welcoming the news, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“It is extremely heartening to hear that Ballantines has been revived. It was disappointing when the firm went into administration and subsequently ceased trading, especially when you consider there were still lucrative orders on the books, and there still seemed to be a bright future for the firm.
“So, I am delighted that Gavin Ballantine has grasped the opportunity and kept his families interest in the firm alive. There has been a long tradition of foundries operating in Bo’ness and Falkirk district and it is great that the skills of previous employees at Ballantines are to get a new lease of life”.
The former Ballantine Bo’ness Iron Company had a history stretching back more than 200 years, and has produced bespoke specialist ironworks for Edinburgh Castle’s cannons, refurbishment of London’s Westminster Bridge and international projects in Sweden, Greece, Bermuda, Kuwait and Jeddah.
It recently helped to refurbish the dramatic spiral staircase for Dundee’s new Malmaison hotel, and has previously worked on the railings encircling the city’s Baxter Park and on projects for the city’s Morgan Academy.
The business plans to drive its initial growth through projects in the UK, but will also be looking abroad to Scandinavia and the Middle East for contracts.
The Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said the launch of the ironworks was "great news" for the future of the industry.