The majority stake in ship repairer A&P Group has been bought for £56m by Royal Bank Development Capital, the investment subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Signed on 23 December but only announced this week, the deal sees RBDC take over the shareholdings of Schroder Ventures and NatWest Bank.
Tim Farazmand, a director of RBDC, said that A&P ‘has potential for growth on an international scale, both organically and through acquisition’.
A&P has shown its capabilities by expanding into cruise ship and specialist conversions, he said, including work on floating production vessels.
A&P is now European market leader in terms of numbers of vessels repaired, turnover (£118m in 1996) and profitability. It employs 2,160 people, 1,400 of them short-term or contract staff.
Some 1,250 staff work on Tyneside at repair yards at South Shields and Wallsend, and at the offshore facility at the Neptune yard. Another 750 work at Falmouth, 120 at Southampton and 40 at Chatham and Dover.
A spokesman for A&P said most of the company’s repair work is fairly short term and ‘a six week order book is good for us’.