Govan at risk in rationalisation

Fears arose last week that the Kvaerner Govan shipyard on Clydeside could be closed or sold, with the possible loss of more than 800 jobs, as part of the overhaul promised by new chief executive Kjell Almskog. Almskog, who was brought in from ABB to replace the sacked Erik Tonseth after the group’s shares plunged […]

Fears arose last week that the Kvaerner Govan shipyard on Clydeside could be closed or sold, with the possible loss of more than 800 jobs, as part of the overhaul promised by new chief executive Kjell Almskog.

Almskog, who was brought in from ABB to replace the sacked Erik Tonseth after the group’s shares plunged following disappointing results, said last week that Kvaerner should be ‘half the size but twice as good’.

He said that ‘nothing would be sacred’ in the rationalisation and that he would dispose of operations that could not achieve sustainable profits within two years.

As Kvaerner warned this week that it would be reporting much weaker results for the third quarter on 16 November, a spokesman in London said it was too early to identify candidates for disposal.

However, the specialist shipyard lost money in 1997 and is likely to do little more than break even this year in contrast to the profitability of Kvaerner’s German and Scandinavian yards.

Govan’s current contracts will be completed by mid-1999, and the spokesman admitted that the yard’s future would depend on it securing further orders before then.

At 30 June, the yard had 812 workers on its payroll.