INDUSTRIAL tycoon Jim McColl has launched a sensational bid to win back control of Ferguson's in Port Glasgow.

Just weeks after being forced to relinquish the yard to the Scottish Government, the businessman is said to have tabled an offer for the business he rescued from administration in 2014 and sunsequently invested almost £30 million in before it hit the buffers due to a financially-ruinous contract for Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) to provide two new ferries.

According to reports, Mr McColl believes Ferguson's was 'effectively expropriated' from him last month and he now wants it back.

But he faces stiff competition, with renowned Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri - famed for constructing some of the world's most famous cruise liners - also reportedly interested in buying the yard.

It was announced last week that Ferguson's is in line for a share of a lucrative £1.25 billion Royal Navy frigate contract as part of a consortium that has been named preferred bidder for the work.

Inverclyde Council opposition leader, Chris McEleny, is a supporter of Mr McColl and is backing his buyout bid.

Councillor McEleny said: "This would be the best deal for the taxpayer.

"It would get the vessels complete and puts us back on track to grow Ferguson's workforce to in the region of 750 workers.

"The only issue is what's best for supporting jobs at the yard long term and growing it to become a vital asset in Scotland's industrial strategy."

Mr McColl, via his firm Clyde Blowers Capital, saved the business five years ago after it was plunged into administration first time round.

He oversaw a radical, multi-million pound transformation of the Newark shipyard as the order book began to fill up.

Ferguson's also received £45m worth of loans from the Scottish Government and won a £97m contract to build two new dual-fuel CalMac ferries - the deal which ultimately brought the company to its knees again last month.

It followed a bitter, two-year row between Mr McColl and Port Glasgow-based CMAL - the publicly-owned firm that placed the order - over design changes to the unfinished vessels and the final bill, which is now expected to be double the original price.

The crisis came to a head on August 16 when an administrator was appointed with the Scottish Government orchestrating a deal to take control of the yard to save the 300-plus workforce and figure out a way to complete the ferries whilst searching for a buyer.

If no commercial takeover can be agreed then Ferguson's will be nationalised.

The Tele recently revealed how there have been 21 expressions of interest in the business, with the price tag understood to be around the £60m mark.