A stark future of a Forth Valley without a money-spinning petro-chemical complex was spelled out this week.
Oil giant Ineos has reduced the value of its Grangemouth petrochemical complex from £400 million to zero.
The vast site is worthless, according to the firm’s annual accounts lodged yesterday.
Bosses said they had “no option” but to write down the value of its property, plant and equipment after four years of heavy losses. The firm employs many people in the Linlithgow and Bo’ness areas
They claim that despite a £1 billion investment, the site has continued to make a loss.
There has already been a warning that the petrochemical complex will close by 2017 if there is not substantial investment.
Earlier this week, Ineos revealed it was looking for a £150 million bailout from the Westminster and Scottish governments to keep the site open.
It is now being suggested that the company would be happy to offload the business for as little as one pound.
Furious East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty said he would be happy to stump up the pound himself, but was more interested in getting together a consortium to take over the site.
He also accused the firm of trying to “bully” the government into handing over cash.
Mr Connarty added: “I have no doubt I could put together a Scottish business consortium to take the complex off their hands. But I’d give them the pound myself.”
Calum MacLean, chairman of the Grangemouth petrochemical business, said: “We had no option but to write down these assets. After four years of heavy losses, the petrochemical business is effectively worthless.
“Without lower costs and an alternative source of additional raw material it will close 2017 at the latest.”
There are fearsOn Monday INEOS launched a survival plan for Grangemouth to ensure the long-term survival of the site.
According to chairman Calum MacLean the Grangemouth site is at a crossroads.
The North Sea gases, which provide its raw materials, are running out.
Mr MacLean, chairman of both Grangemouth Petrochemicals and Grangemouth Refining, said: “The current business is unsustainable. We have worked incredibly hard to put together a survival plan that asks something of everyone.
‘‘If everyone agrees to it, Grangemouth has a future. If not, Grangemouth Petro-chemicals will close.”
INEOS has already invested £1 billion in Grangemouth but the company has indicated it is willing to invest a further £300 million to facilitate the development of a new gas terminal to bring in ethane from the USA. The company is also asking employees to play their part and has communicated the changes required in the survival plan to employees.
The package of pension and remuneration changes includes a money purchase pension scheme for all employees. The final salary scheme will close.
Mr MacLean added: “These changes will transform our business but everyone must understand this is a package deal and there is no Plan B”.