27 Mar 2013

Whangarei-based shipbuilder to close down

10:11 pm on 27 March 2013

One of the country's most prominent shipbuilders has gone into liquidation and will officially close this week.

Established in 1990, Shipco Marine Constructors specialised in building workboats and tugs and exported about half its products.

The Whangarei-based firm employed 45 staff and owes about $4.5 million to about 130 creditors.

One of the liquidators, Steve Bennett, says creditors had agreed to allow the company to continue to trade for the past two years provided it didn't default on payments.

However it did default and it will be struck off the companies register this week.

Mr Bennett says Shipco's parent company has six other firms that are not going into liquidation.

Marine Industry Association chief executive Peter Busfield says shipbuilding is in good health despite the liquidation.

Mr Busfield says New Zealand shipbuilders have a good reputation internationally for high-quality specialist boats and many companies are enjoying high sales.

He says New Zealand is gaining more international market share of the commercial vessel market.

A director of one of the country's largest ship builders says Shipco's liquidation is concerning but his business is still going strong.

The director of Wanganui-based Q-West Boat Builders, Miles Fothergill, says Shipco Marine faced competition from countries offering cheap labour.

He says although Q-West is also in the commercial workboat arena, it specialises in one-off aluminium boats and business is still good.