Hartlepool firm is putting its giant site up for sale

An aerial view of Heerema at Hartlepool.
An aerial view of Heerema at Hartlepool.

A fabrication firm is selling off its giant Hartlepool yard.

The Heerema Fabrication Group has struggled with insufficient orders and ‘marginal profitability’ for a while, bosses have indicated.

Heerema in Greenland Road, Hartlepool.

Heerema in Greenland Road, Hartlepool.

It has led to a strategic review which has resulted in plans to sell off the Dutch headquarters and the huge yard at Hartlepool.

A company press announcement said: “HFG has signed a letter of intent aiming to sell its activities at the yard in Zwijndrecht with the Italian engineering and construction company Rosetti Marino S.p.A.. It is expected that the transfer of activities will not affect the workforce at the Zwijndrecht yard.

“In the coming period HFG also intends to seek a buyer for its activities at the yard in Hartlepool. The activities at the HFG yard in Vlissingen (The Netherlands) and Opole (Poland) will continue as they are.”

So far, there have been no indications on what it means for jobs in the town and how many people will be affected, although 60 jobs will be phased out at the Dutch head office.

With the ongoing difficult market conditions there is not enough perspective for HFG to continue its activities with the current structure and head office organization

Overall, the company currently employs 370 people.

Management have informed staff at all locations about the plans.

The statement added: “HFG is committed to support staff who are being made redundant as a result of the divestment.

And chief executive Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven said: “We will be providing every support we can offer in this very difficult period.”

Heerema in Hartlepool.

Heerema in Hartlepool.

Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) is planning to concentrate ‘a significant part of its activities’ in designing and fabricating complex steel constructions for the offshore market.

HFG has been struggling for some time with ‘insufficient project volume and marginal profitability. In addition, the risks associated with building topsides are high and clients are not prepared to pay for this risk’ said the statement.

The group was restructured two years ago against a background of the decreased oil price, lack of investment in the oil and gas industry and unfavourable contractual conditions in the wind energy market.

The restructuring was based on the expectation that the market would improve from 2019 onwards.

Back in 2016, Heerema Hartlepool - which is based in Greenland Road - announced that it was laying off 45 people.

Company officials were hoping it was a short-term cutback for a longer term gain. They predicted that more projects were likely to materialise in the future.

Less than a year earlier, in September 2015, Heerema Fabrication Group won a contract to build the parts for an oil platform in the Culzean field in the North Sea.

The deal meant work for 250 people in Hartlepool.

But Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven said he was disappointed that the reorganization in 2016 did not bring HFG the results it needed.

“With the ongoing difficult market conditions there is not enough perspective for HFG to continue its activities with the current structure and head office organization.”