THE council-owned property company that owns Clydebank's famous Titan Crane made a six-figure loss in the last financial year due to "tax we do not necessarily need to pay", according to a senior local authority official.

The Clydebank Property Company, owned by West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC), returned a net loss of £176,000 in the 2021/22 fiscal year.

But WDC's chief officer of resources, Laurence Slavin, told councillors this week he was "confident" the company could get back in the black - and said the net loss was down to "the joys of private sector accounting".

An annual report on the activity of the Clydebank Property Company (CPC) was presented to WDC's infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee.

According to the report, CPC has reserves totalling £3.6 million - of which £2.9m is in a position to be "distributed".

Members of the IRED committee were also asked to note the change of directors of the company board with the resignation of Peter Hessett and appointment of Alan Douglas. 

Mr Hessett resigned on September 23, after taking up the role of WDC's chief executive earlier in the year, while Mr Douglas was appointed as a director on December 2.

SNP councillor Jonathan McColl, a member of the committee, said: “Are we confident that in the next few years the property company will be able to get itself back to making the small profit it needs to in order to continue to be viable?”

It was confirmed that this was the first loss the CPC had seen with a council officer explaining it was down to tax the authority "does not necessarily need to pay".

Mr Slavin replied: “This is the joys of private sector accounting compared to public sector accounting.

"The company did make a profit this year but that tax position puts us into the net loss.

“There is a slight oddity around it, as this is not necessarily a tax we need to pay.

"We would only need to pay the tax on it if these assets were sold at a later date. 

“So the company did deliver a profit overall but I accept that from an accounts perspective, it shows a deficit.

"In terms of confidence, historically this company had returned a profit so I don’t see any reason why that can’t continue.”

CPC was set up by the council in 2014 after the closure of the Clydebank Rebuilt group of companies, also owned by the local authority.

The transfer of all of Clydebank Rebuilt's assets to CPC, including the crane, was completed that same year.

In addition to the Titan Crane, the CPC's other assets include the Titan Enterprise Centre in the Queens Quay development area and two blocks of workshops in Whitecrook.

In 2021, the Post reported on plans to reopen the Titan Crane to visitors in the spring of the following year - more than four years after the iconic structure was closed to the public.