IN a golden age of manufacturing, Scots-made ironwork was sent all over the world.
Now, however, soaring demand for a West Lothian foundry’s time-served skill has come from an unlikely tropical source, bankrolled by Celtic majority shareholder, Dermot Desmond.
Bo’ness-based Ballantine Castings has secured a major project to supply 180 decorative iron columns for a major luxury marina project in the Caribbean which is being developed by the Irish-born billionaire.
The deal, which will see the handcrafted bespoke columns feature as key architectural elements of dozens of marina buildings on an exclusive island in St Vincent and the Grenadines, is said to be the largest export order of its kind for a generation.
It will see the foundry construct 180 iron columns – each weighing 650kg – which will feature prominently on the façade of at least five key properties within the marina development.
Director Gavin Ballantine said the firm had beaten competition from foundries in China and Italy for the multi-million-pound order, which will see more than 150 tonnes of Bo’ness cast ironwork journey halfway around the world to the sun-kissed Caribbean.
“It’s not the kind of order that happens very often and we are extremely happy, particularly given the economic situation with so many unknown elements,” he added.
The Celtic chief has already invested an estimated £60m in creating the luxurious Glossy Bay Marina on Canouan Island in the Caribbean – regarded as one of the world’s billionaire playgrounds. The 120-berth marina – including 24 berths for superyachts – has been earmarked for a further £30m investment per year over a four-year period.
Securing the Caribbean order is a remarkable achievement for the family-run foundry which can trace its roots to 1820 and the peak of the industrial revolution.
The business was formally established in 1856 as Arthur Ballantine & Sons and traded for almost 160 until the recent financial crisis saw it facing potential collapse.