United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Tower maker forced to close

The UK's home grown manufacturer of wind turbine towers, Cambrian Engineering, has called in the administrators due to a cash shortage from late payments and recent unpaid bills by customers, coupled with unexpected extra costs associated with setting up its Arnish facility on Lewis in Scotland. Cambrian's David Williams says the underlying problem for the company has been the stuttering pattern of demand in the UK.

"The upbeat wind industry rhetoric has never been matched by actual performance and we do not have deep enough pockets to keep it going," says Williams. The original factory at Bangor remains viable, he says. Over the last six years it has built 500 towers, including most of those in the UK, and exported to nine countries. But the company's expansion at Arnish proved to be premature.

He says he took the decision to open a facility on Lewis after an independent study by consultants and had anticipated the offshore market taking off sooner. Cambrian was encouraged by the Department of Trade and Industry, politicians and Scottish government who all wanted a renewables success story for the UK. But problems setting up at Arnish, some of which Highlands and Islands Council has accepted liability for, compounded cash flow problems. "We just cannot bridge the gap between now and when the market starts to pick up," he says. Administrators RSM Rhodes hope to sell the company whole as a going concern. Matthew Dunham from RSM Rhodes says he has received an encouraging level of response so far.

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