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Exclusive: Interserve closes offsite energy plant after 'economic challenges'

Interserve will close its multi-million-pound offsite manufacturing plant in Cheshire, putting 60 jobs at risk.

The contractor cited “economic challenges” in the energy-from-waste and gas and oil industries as behind its decision to shut the Ellesmere Port plant.

Interserve has begun a redundancy consultation process, with up to 60 people at risk of losing their jobs.

In a letter to the affected workers, seen by Construction News, Interserve said it was “aware of an interest” from a potential buyer, but that an offer was “not yet firm”.

The contractor added it was “considering” redeploying some workers elsewhere within the group. The plant will officially close on 1 July after all “current demands [are] met”.

The firm said the closure of the plant would have “no impact on its ability to support its customers”.

The news comes less than a week after Interserve announced it had lost £70m on a energy-from-waste plant in Glasgow.

In a trading update, the company said problems relating to the design, procurement and installation of the gasification plant had contributed to the losses.

It added that “continuing challenges with the supply chain” would result in further cost overruns and delays on the scheme.

The update was published just a week after more than 70 workers went on strike at the plant following a long-running dispute over pay conditions.

The Glasgow plant is believed to be one of three EfW plants that contributed to a drop in the firm’s profit last year.

In February Interserve reported operating profits of £100,000 for 2015, representing a 99 per cent decline compared with the £15.4m profit it recorded for the previous year.

Construction News revealed last August that Interserve had its EPC contract cancelled at the £120m EnviRecover plant near Kidderminster.

The client, Hitachi Zosen Inova, cited “significant delays” behind its decision to terminate the contract.

The 230,000 sq ft Ellesmere Port facility has been in operation since 2006, manufacturing parts for UK energy projects.

This included a £20m contract to build the UK’s largest nuclear evaporator module.

As part of the contract, awarded by Costain, Interserve built 11 modules for the multi-billion-pound Sellafield nuclear plant clean-up.

The 27 m-long 520-tonne modules were fully manufactured at the Ellesmere plant before being transported by boat to the Sellafield site.

The plant also provided metal and steel fabrication services, as well as producing piping for a number of Interserve projects.

 

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