Engineering tycoon Jim McColl's Clyde Blowers Capital has been selected as preferred bidder for the business and assets of the collapsed Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow.

Mr McColl last week revealed his hopes of taking over the Port Glasgow yard. He highlighted his aim of creating several hundred jobs within the next few years, returning the yard to its former glory.

Seventy of the remaining 77 employees at the Port Glasgow yard, which can trace its roots back to 1902, were made redundant after the business fell into administration on August 14.

Blair Nimmo and Tony Friar of KPMG, who were appointed as joint administrators of Ferguson Shipbuilders Limited, Newark Joiners Limited and Ferguson-Ailsa on August 14, named Clyde Blowers Capital as preferred bidder for the group's business and its assets and expect to complete a sale within two weeks.

Another bid involved the Easdale Brothers, Sandy and James, who run McGill's Buses,

Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive officer of Clyde Blowers Capital, said: "We are pleased to have been selected as the preferred bidder for Fergusons which we believe has the potential to grow into a leading marine engineering business.

"Work is now under way to develop a plan to rebuild Fergusons. We look forward to working with all the key stakeholders in that rebuilding process."

Blair Nimmo said: "We would like to thank all parties who expressed an interest in securing the heritage and future of Ferguson Shipbuilders. There are still ongoing discussions to be had with Clyde Blowers, however, we are now confident a sale can be achieved quickly.

"This is a positive first step towards the potential resumption of ship building and ship repair activities at Port Glasgow. We would also like to thank all parties for their continued support and patience during a challenging time for all concerned - employees, shop stewards, union representatives, the Scottish Government, Inverclyde Council and local elected members."