Leading strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset lifecycle management company InfraStrata plc has acquired the historic Appledore Shipyard in North Devon in a £7m deal.

The UK-based, London Stock Exchange-listed firm specialises in the development, commercialisation and operation of advanced, high-value, strategic infrastructure facilities.

The new deal follows InfraStrata’s acquisition of the famous Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast last year and reinforces the company as a major player in the UK maritime and offshore engineering industry.

“We see Appledore playing a key role in an exciting new era for UK shipyards and shipbuilding; supporting UK industry and revitalising economic growth in the South West,” said InfraStrata CEO John Wood.

“Our vision is to transform it into a thriving centre of excellence that creates jobs, trains apprentices and re-establishes this country at the forefront of a new generation of shipyards,” he added.

The highly strategic shipyard, which will be known as Harland & Wolff (Appledore), is targeting five distinct sectors; defence, commercial, renewables, cruise & ferry and oil & gas.

“We see enormous growth potential across all of these sectors. Globally, there is an estimated £6bn pipeline of opportunities over the next five years,” said John.

“There is also a large programme of sovereign new build smaller vessels planned over the next decade, ideally suited for Appledore, with its prime location and covered drydock and building hall.

“Brexit will provide increased opportunities and additional demand for home-based industries; as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda by investing in UK-wide regions along with the implementation of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we see a large demand for home-built vessels post 2020”

“For decades our outdated and unwieldy shipyards have been in decline and have continued to deliver programs late, whilst overseas yards have led the way in productivity and efficiencies. This is a once in a lifetime chance to re-build, modernise and re-shape the industry with a new generation of shipyards, which can adapt, move quickly and utilise the expertise of a skilled and highly motivated workforce,” he added.

As part of its new remit, the shipyard will provide complete lifecycle management from technical services, fabrication & construction, to in-service support, repair and maintenance, and conversion all the way to decommissioning. It will also be able to accommodate other projects like steel fabrication for industry and construction.

Jointly the InfraStrata group has the potential of employing 1,550 people – 800 at Harland and Wolff (Belfast), 350 at Harland and Wolff (Appledore), and 400 during the construction phase of the Islandmagee gas storage project.