DOUBT hangs over the future of 15 jobs after a Hampshire boatbuilder went into administration.

However, the parent company of Meercat Workboats, based at Hythe, claims the business is sound and likely to be salvaged as a going concern.

Nick Warren, CEO of Burgess Marine, which owns Meercat, told the Echo: “We are hoping the company can come out of administration very quickly.”

Mr Warren said it was hoped that the current management could buy the company but if that was not possible there were other parties interested in launching a takeover

Meercat specialises in the construction of road-transportable multi-role workboats up to 18 metres in length.

It recently delivered a new craft Meercat M15 to ABP, the owners of the Port of Southampton to be used in towing operations. Spartina, named by children of Hythe Primary School, was unveiled at the international trade show Seawork 2017 in Southampton.

He explained that Meercat was working on two boats for Scottish customers and had an order for a third.

At present work has ceased and an administrator has been appointed and the workforce were being kept informed of developments.

Mr Warren said Burges had been supplying Meercat’s cashflow but had been forced to put the firm into administration after a big customer failed to pay its bill.

Meercat’s problems comes just weeks after the Echo reported the collapse of near neighbours Green Marine.

Green were leaders in the field of composite hull manufacture – they built the high-tech hulls for Sir Ben Ainslie’s Landrover BAR America’s Cup challenege – but went into liquidation, with the loss of more than 40 jobs when a long-awaited order failed to materialise.

Unlike Meercat the yacht builder had an empty order book.

Meercat moved to Hythe Marine Park from Trafalgar Wharf in Portchester to purpose-built premises at Hythe Marine Park just over a year ago.

The 1,600 sqm site has two 20-tonne gantry cranes, an electrical workshop, a hydraulic workshop, aluminium welding bays, dedicated stores, offices and customer parking.

At the time it was reported that move represented a £500,000 investment.

It came came two years after Meercat was purchased by Burgess Marine, which claims to be Britain’s largest independent ship repairer.

Mr Warren said Burgess Marine itself was in a healthy position and was trading well ahead of its targets.