Third bid tabled for troubled shipyard

But no fixed date has been set for the Big Five firm to announce its decision over the bids, despite mounting pressure from workers and unions.

A spokeswoman at PwC confirmed the firm had received three bids, but said that there was no deadline for its decision. ‘All offers are being considered,’ she said.

Southampton-based shipyard A&P Group Holdings, which was Cammell’s biggest rival before the company went into receivership in April, tabled the offer.

David Ring, chief executive of A&P Group Holdings, said: ‘We have been in discussions with the receivers for some time. We await their decision on the acceptability of our bid, which is for all the yards. We have sought to identify a solution that offers the best long term future for the whole of the British ship repair and conversion sector.’

However, nobody at A&P was able to pin down exactly what solution is proposed. Unions and employees at the Birkenhead, Tyneside and Teeside yards fear that one of the solutions would be to close down the yards.

A&P’s Ring added: ‘We, of course, recognise the strength of emotions involved in this process, especially for those employed in the yards. For this reason, we have not conducted our bidding process through the media. We expect to hear the receiver’s decision in the coming weeks.’

PwC came under growing pressure last week leading to workers and unions staging a short-lived protest last week after more job cuts were announced. Present and past workers have criticised PwC for jeopardising the remaining jobs and incoming contracts by delaying its decision.

Another bid has come from a management team led by Dave Gillam, Birkenhead’s managing director, and Steve Brookfield, the financial and commercial director, and assisted by Ernst & Young Corporate Finance. This team submitted a bid to purchase the business as a going concern.

The second, also from a former management team, came last week from a group of three former directors led by John Syvret, Cammell’s former group operations director. The group has secured financial backing from the investment firm Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity.


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