Aggreko, the Glasgow-based manufacturer of electrical generators, has said it is applying to the Scottish government for cash-aid to build a new factory in Dumbarton. A move to China has been touted as an alternative.
The company, which recently supplied the power for the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics, employs around 240 staff in plants around Dumbarton. It said its current facilities are overstretched.
Aggreko chief Rupert Soames said: “At the moment we’re doing the sums and it’s a question of whether we do it all in Scotland, some in Dumbarton and some in China or all in China. There are strong arguments either way.”
One commentator on the Scotsman website said that statement amounted to holding the government to ransom. “This comment from the company is as close to legal blackmail or as we call it in USA “freeloading”… I hope the powers to be give them a grant to leave Scotland rather than stay otherwise they will sponge of (sic) the state forever.
“If they are as succesfull (sic) as they claim they can afford it and/or have the creditability to get private investors,” said the poster.
An Aggreko spokesperson responded by saying: “Aggreko is considering a major investment, there’s no ‘blackmail’ involved at all. The company has been a major contributor to the Scottish economy for a number of years.
“But having said that it is a global group, trading in over a hundred companies, and it has a duty to its shareholders to provide the best value, which is precisely what it is doing.”
She said no final decision had been made but when it is it will be made on financial and commercial grounds.
The company recently announced first-half pre-tax profits of £68.6 million and chairman Phillip Rogerson said: “We now anticipate that Aggreko’s performance for the year will exceed current market expectations”.
The new factory will reportedly cost £15-20 million to build. The Scotsman was not given details of how much assistance Aggreko are seeking.