Ineos Chairman Weighs in Again, on Scottish Independence

12.03.2014 -

Evidently having developed a taste for speaking out on controversial topics, once elusive Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe has surprised a British public by commenting on the exceedingly touchy subject of Scottish independence.

Just days earlier, in an open letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Ratcliffe slammed what he saw as the EU's lack of concern over high-cost energy and manufacturing costs on this side of the Atlantic.

Speaking on British TV, the billionaire businessman said, no matter what the outcome of Scotland's 18 September referendum on whether to remain part of the UK, the Ineos site at Grangemouth "will survive in both scenarios.

I don't think the Scottish vote will make any difference to Grangemouth one way or the other," he asserted.

The petrochemical giant employs more than 1,300 people at the mammoth Scottish production site which it threatened to close during a heated labor dispute in October 2013.

Ineos emerged victorious on two counts following the dispute. Along with concessions from workers on pay and pensions, the now Swiss-based company also won UK government approval of a £125 million loan drawn from a taxpayer-based fund for major infrastructure projects, and the Scottish regional government also agreed to support its application for £9 million grant.

While companies in the banking and insurance sectors in particular are now starting to cautiously comment on the Scottish independence question, players in petrochemicals or oil & gas with vested interests in the country or in its offshore North Sea waters are still publicly skirting the issue.