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A ship repairer has entered into a long-term agreement to build two vessels in a deal designed to lower financial risk.
Dover-based Burgess Marine will build two ships for North Sea operator Mainprize Offshore under a new contract set up to minimise the possibility of the builder going bust.
In the last 12 months, three shipyards have called in administrators nationally after changes in the market have increased costs and left them unable to make a profit on ships they have built at a previously agreed price.
The Sure Build agreement means Burgess Marine will build the vessels with an open book to Mainprize Offshore, showing them costs throughout the process and then deciding on a price when the project is completed, making an acceptable profit.
The value of the deal – financed by investment management group Close Brothers – has not been disclosed.
Burgess Marine’s managing director Nicholas Warren said: “For many years we’ve watched yards make small fortunes, then fail, or operators make big investments which have then been seized or withheld by administrators.
“We wanted to offer a ‘piece of mind alternative’ to the industry. Something different, something sensible.
“By working closely with Mainprize Offshore, we’ve developed a ‘cost plus’ way of working.
“This ensures a very low risk for the operator and a low, but sustainable, margin for us, as the builder.”
The new 25m wind farm support boats will be built at Burgess Marine’s depot in Portchester, with Mainprize Offshore taking out an option on two more.
The ships are being unveiled at the Seawork International 2014 exhibition in Southampton from today until Thursday.
Managing director and owner Bob Mainprize said: “We are looking forward to the development of a very long and very fruitful mutually-beneficial relationship.”
Burgess Marine’s head office is in Dover and it has workshops and offices in Portsmouth, Portchester, Southampton, Poole, Avonmouth, Devonport and Mallorca.
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