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Wind Tower Ltd secures future of Machrihanish manufacturing and assembly plant

20 May 2011

Wind Towers Ltd, the joint venture between SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy plc) and Marsh Wind Technology Ltd, the UK subsidiary of Marsh Global Holdings Ltd, has completed the purchase of the Skykon wind turbine tower manufacturing and assembly plant at Machrihanish, Campbeltown, from its Administrators.

HIE has agreed to provide an investment of £3.4million and Argyll and Bute Council is committing to a £12million infrastructure upgrade to the local port and roads.

The Wind Towers Ltd joint venture was established in February 2011 and was granted preferred bidder status by the Skykon administrator in March 2011. In addition to producing wind turbine towers for onshore wind farms, the construction of new facilities to allow the production of turbine towers for offshore wind farms at the site is almost complete, which will enable it to participate in the next phase of offshore wind developments.

SSE is the UK's largest generator of electricity from renewable sources. Marsh Wind Technology is a UK subsidiary of Marsh Global Holdings Ltd. which has substantial experience in restructuring manufacturing operations around the world.

Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of SSE said:

"SSE has invested in a range of new initiatives in the past year to ensure a robust and sustainable supply chain is created for renewable energy developers in Scotland. I am pleased that we have been able to work with Marsh Wind Technology and HIE and the local council to secure the future of the Machrihanish plant and add another link to this chain.

"The focus of the Wind Towers Ltd management team will now be on efficiently delivering the extensive order book already in place and then fully using the excellent facilities available at the site to make the most of the expanding market for offshore wind turbines post 2013."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "When I met staff and management at Machrihanish in March, I was struck by their drive and determination to ensure turbine manufacturing continued at the plant so I'm delighted that its long term future has now been secured with this successful sale to the SSE and Marsh joint venture.

"I'm also pleased that, through SDI and Highlands and Islands Enterprise we have been able to assist in the development of Wind Towers' ambitious future plans to move into the growing offshore wind turbine sector over the coming years.

"Alongside the continued deployment of clean green energy across our country and around our coast, I'm determined that we secure the associated manufacturing, fabrication, servicing and maintenance so communities such as Campbeltown fully benefit from the renewables revolution and continue to play a key role in the rapidly growing low carbon economy."

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

"This private and public sector partnership investment recognises the vitally important role Machrihanish has to offer. The experience and reputation of these two global companies combined with the area's skills and infrastructure makes for an amazing opportunity for Campbeltown to play its part in the international renewables sector.

"We are ambitious for the future of the site. Investments already made mean it is capable of increasing onshore output and manufacturing larger towers for offshore sites as that market grows. Its prime location means it is well placed to supply the offshore market, particularly potential developments in the Irish Sea and off the west coast of Scotland.

"HIE wants our region to be a world leader in the renewable energy sector. Our investment provides another piece of the infrastructure needed for Scotland to deliver the developing sector's needs."

William Marsh said: "All the partners in Wind Towers Ltd believe that this plant has an important role in building the supply chain base for the growing wind energy sector in the UK and that it will have a healthy future in the medium term as the demand for turbine components expands. It is our aim to build the Campbeltown operation into a stable and reliable partner to our customers with a singular focus on creating value in the supply chain."

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