US bidder might save Govan yard

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An unidentified US defence contractor is being mooted as a possible new bidder for the threatened Kvaerner Govan yard on Clydeside, following Kvaerner’s rejection this week of a £1m bid from GEC’s Marconi Marine subsidiary.

Analysts believe that General Electric and General Dynamic – big US defence contractors – could be poised to make an approach.

Kvaerner threw out GEC’s bid on Tuesday because it left the Anglo-Norwegian group liable for £9m worth of redundancy costs. Defence industry specialists believe General Electric and General Dynamic could be interested in the yard because of lucrative forthcoming MoD orders which Govan could secure. Govan has been shortlisted for a £240m MoD contract for six troop ferries, to be decided in the autumn.

Other MoD orders to come out of the Strategic Defence Review include contracts for two hospital ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and a contract for two new landing vessels to go out to tender in 2002.

Govan’s last big defence contract was the hull of helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, launched in 1995.

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