OFT asked to look at Cammell deal

In a letter to trade secretary Patricia Hewitt, Ted Gilbertson, a representative of the AEEU engineering union, outlined the implications of the deal, according to today’s Times newspaper. The report said the Department of Trade & Industry had passed the letter on to the OFT to consider Gilbertson’s claims.

Gilbertson warned the sale of the beleaguered yard would hand A&P a monopoly of ‘immense proportions’. A&P owned six shipyards prior to the deal, which has netted it a further three. It is thought unlikely A&P will re-open the yards, despite shelling out an estimated £10m.

But a spokesperson for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which sold the yards after being appointed receiver by the Royal Bank of Scotland, said it had taken regulatory issues into account when deciding between the three bids for Cammell.

Cammell Laird was sold to A&P on Friday for an undisclosed sum following the decision to call in receivers in April this year. The shipbuilder had appeared to be on the up months previously with a record order book of £750m. But the company was holed by a series of cancelled orders. In November an Italian company abruptly terminated a £50m cruise liner contract.

Of the three bids for the yards, A&P’s was least favoured by trades union groups, with the two other offers coming from former management teams.


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