Magma Structures says transfer to Portsmouth shiphall is ‘80 per cent’ complete

  • Magma Structures breaks silence to dispel rumours over Portsmouth shiphall move
  • Company speaks during event celebrating work on largest free-standing rigs in the world for German client
  • Carbon rigs set to leave Portsmouth Harbour tomorrow
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MAGMA Structures has quashed rumours that its deal to move in to Portsmouth’s shiphall is in doubt.

The composite structure giant has broken its silence to dispel any uncertainty and say negotiations are ‘80 per cent’ complete.

But the company, currently based at Trafalgar Wharf, said it was crucial the final terms were agreed before it signs any contract.

Magma along with BAE Systems were announced by prime minister David Cameron as the two firms selected to occupy the shiphall facility, left vacant following the end of shipbuilding in the city.

But concerns have been raised since the general election as there has been little sign of progress – with Mr Cameron coming under fire after deflecting the issue when Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond raised it in parliament.

But speaking to The News yesterday, Magma CEO Clive Johnson said: ‘There are just some final details we have to work through with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

One of the free-standing masts built at Magma Structures

One of the free-standing masts built at Magma Structures

‘We have to work out the final terms around the lease that haven’t been cleared up.

‘I am not going to sign a deal when there are still things that are not resolved.

‘We are 80 per cent of the way there, and the other 20 per cent is not something that won’t get resolved.’

Mr Johnston added the move will create more jobs and there is ‘untapped’ potential as the company seeks to make gains in the oil, gas and defence markets.

Magma Structures CEO Clive Johnson

Magma Structures CEO Clive Johnson

‘If you look at the size of our current building, we have outgrown this site, we need more space,’ he said.

Mr Johnson spoke during an event showcasing three free-standing masts the company has built for a client in Germany.

About 100m long, the carbon structures are the largest of their kind in the world.

They are set to leave on a barge tomorrow morning, and a 200m exclusion zone is to be put around Portsmouth Harbour to aid the transfer.

Building work has lasted more than three years and more than 70 workers have been involved.

Project technical advisor Damon Roberts said: ‘The high-strength, fatigue-resistant nature of carbon has been the key in enabling us to develop and manufacture a freestanding structure much larger than anything currently built.’

Cllr Donna Jones, council leader, said the superyacht the masts are for is as big as a Type 45 destroyer.

‘This is a great example of the best of British showcasing research, development and science and engineering from Magma Structures,’ she said.