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Repairs lifeline for Cammell Laird

Defence secretary Geoff Hoon has thrown a lifeline to Cammell Laird by allowing the troubled shipbuilder to bid for contracts to refit Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.

Civil servants originally said Cammell Laird was barred from bidding to renovate the support ships, according to the GMB general union.

But the MoD yesterday said that the Merseyside-based shipyard was always allowed to bid for the contracts, which are reported to be worth Pounds 20m.

Cammell Laird called in receivers this month following a series of cancelled orders, including the termination of a Pounds 50m cruise liner contract.More than 3,000 jobs are now thought to be under threat.

Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cammell Laird’s receiver, may spin off the company’s foreign operations, according to reports in the FT. By selling off non-UK units, the receivers would hope to find a buyer for Cammell’s core business. Any sale, however, would be scrutinised by trade and industry secretary Stephen Buyers who is keen on selling the yard as a going concern.


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