Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc lands titanic defense contract

Belfast shipyard and offshore construction company Harland & Wolff Group Holdings PLC (AIM:HARL) – famous for building the Titanic and other Olympic-class ocean liners in the early 20th century – doubled its market value on Wednesday after obtaining a historic contract.

Part of Team Resolute alongside BMT and Navantia UK, Harland & Wolff has been selected as the preferred bidder for the Ministry of Defense’s £1.6 billion contract to manufacture three vessels supplying munitions, stores and provisions to Royal Navy aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates.

Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast will build the three 216-meter-long ships, which when completed will be the second-longest British military ships behind the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

As part of the proposal, Team Resolute has pledged a £75 million investment in shipyard infrastructure to support the UK shipbuilding industry.

Harland & Wolff has secured MoD contracts in the past, but not on a scale of this magnitude.

Put into administration in 2019, the shipyard’s iconic yellow cranes are known to locals as Samson & Goliath, a symbol of Belfast’s once mighty shipbuilding industry.

Samson & Goliath: a key feature of Belfast’s skyline – Photo: Shutterstock

Although it managed to emerge from administration at the end of 2019, the shipyard has not made a profit since.

But this latest contract win “will be a significant boost for the UK shipbuilding industry…creating around 2,000 jobs in the UK and showcasing cutting-edge British design”, said the Secretary to Defense Ben Wallace.

However, some construction work will also take place at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain.

On behalf of Team Resolute, Harland & Wolff Managing Director John Wood said: “Team Resolute is proud to have been selected as the preferred bidder to supply the Royal Fleet Auxiliary with three state-of-the-art adaptable vessels which will fulfill the Royal to the needs of the Navy while enhancing the UK’s sovereign shipbuilding and design capability, as well as generating around £1.4 billion of national social and economic value”.

Production is expected to begin in 2025, and the three support vessels are expected to be operational by 2032.

Samson & Goliath haven’t built a ship since 2003, but it looks like they’re not out of service yet.

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