Local jobs created as Solway Precast is sold

Barr Limited has concluded the sale of its Solway Precast concrete manufacturing plant in Barrhill, South Ayrshire, to a consortium backed by Barr founder John Barr.

The consortium, led by former Solway managers David Murdoch and Andrew Gillon, has restarted production with a workforce of 10.

Barr Limited announced in March this year it was reviewing its concrete manufacturing business following sustained low demand for precast products from the construction sector.

News that production has restarted at Barrhill and that a number of jobs have been created has been warmly welcomed by the local community.

Bill Weir, managing director of Barr’s industrial division said: “Solway Precast is a long-established precast supplier across the whole construction sector and this deal is good news for all parties.

“It allows Barr to concentrate on its core quarrying, environmental and construction activities, while at the same time allowing a new owner to develop this business.

“John Barr has both a strong attachment to and a firm understanding of the business and we are confident he can take Solway Precast forward in a successful and sustainable manner.”

John Barr is one of the founders of the Barr Group and played a prominent role within the company until its sale in early 2007.

Following the sale, he retained links with Barr and continued to work in an advisory role as technical director.

He has relinquished this role following the purchase of Solway Precast.

John Barr said: “I have been working to secure this deal ever since it became clear that Solway Precast was not a part of Barr’s long-term plans and I am delighted to have done so.

“The existing management team is a strong one and the products are well known and respected in the market.

“We see significant opportunities to grow the business by targeting the industrial and agricultural sectors and will be seeking to position ourselves as the Scottish precaster of choice.

“While the initial workforce is relatively small, we have a business plan in place to create more jobs once we are up and running fully again.”

Scottish Enterprise and South Ayrshire Council played key roles in helping to finalise the deal to take over Solway Precast, collectively supporting with a total funding package of up to £250,000.

Scottish Enterprise will continue to support the management team through its account management process to encourage the team’s growth plans for the new business.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise have worked closely with the team to acquire Solway Precast and to secure the future of the South Ayrshire manufacturing facility.

“This development marks a new chapter in the history of this construction company, which will help bring the business back into operation and support local jobs in the Carrick area.”

Mick McHugh, company growth support director at Scottish Enterprise said: “SE staff have worked closely with the new management team and our local authority partners to help bring the business back into operation and it is extremely gratifying to see jobs created again at the site.

“We will now look to the future to ensure the new venture is established successfully and all opportunities for business growth explored and exploited.”

South Ayrshire Council provided advice and support to the consortium team and access to loan funding through the West of Scotland Loan Fund.

Leader of South Ayrshire, Councillor Bill McIntosh said: “The Solway Precast plant has been at the heart of the Barrhill community for nearly 40 years, so I’m delighted to see it reopen, with jobs for a number of former employees.

“This is a positive and productive outcome to what was a bleak situation and I’m pleased we 
could play our part.

“This will make a real difference to the local community and the local economy and I wish the business every success.”