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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Cammell Laird yards bought
Cammell Laird shipyard
The shipyards are being bought by A&P
Cammell Laird's shipyards on Merseyside and Tyneside have been bought by the Southampton-based ship repair and conversion company A&P.

But the buyers have said they will not be keeping on any of the remaining 200 staff.

A spokesman for A&P, a ship repair business, said it was buying the yards in the hope that they might be used in the future.

"We recognise that this is a very difficult day for the remaining Cammell Laird workers," the spokesman told the BBC.

Hopes sunk

Cammell Laird called in the receivers in April and announced more than 600 job cuts after a number of cancelled orders threw the business into trouble.

The Costa Crociere deal led to Cammell Laird's downfall

Many of the company's problems were blamed on the loss of a 50m contract to re-fit an Italian cruise ship, the Costa Classica.

The ship's operator, Costa Crociere, pulled the plug on the order to lengthen the vessel while the ship was sailing to Cammell Laird's yard.

The Merseyside-based firm had been due to split the ship in two and insert a new centre portion before fixing all three bits together to create the longer ship.

The financial problems were made worse by the fact that the centre portion had already been built.

Management buy-outs fail

A&P Group is one of the UK's main ship repair and conversion businesses.

It employs about 2,500 staff, and operates five docks in the south of England at Southampton, Chatham, Dover, Falmouth and Ramsgate.

It beat two bids from management buy-out teams to buy Cammell Laird.

Cammel Laird director Mike Morgan said he was disappointed at the decision to sell the company to A&P.

"It is disappointing that the shipyard will be shut down when there were more serious bidders willing to continue the business as a going concern," he said.

Union concern

Union officials expressed their disappointment at the sale to A&P.

"We have been saying for several weeks the receivers should go with one of the management buy-outs," said Ted Gilbertson, regional officer with the AEEU.

He said union bosses would be seeking urgent talks with A&P management.

The head of A&P said the buyout was good for the future of the UK's ship repair industry.

"We believe our bid is the best option for maintaining a long-term ship repair capapbility in the UK and where possible, for attracting new work," said David Ring, chief executive of A&P.

See also:

25 Jul 01 | Business
Cammell Laird to be mothballed
27 Jun 01 | Business
Management bid for Cammell yard
23 May 01 | Business
Former boss 'bids' for Cammell yard
16 May 01 | Business
Cammell Laird sacks more workers
18 Apr 01 | Business
Cammell Laird jobs axed
12 Apr 01 | Business
Cammell Laird seeks rescuer
12 Apr 01 | Business
Cammell Laird calls in receivers
11 Apr 01 | Business
Cammell Laird blow will end era
11 Apr 01 | Business
Cammell Laird: what went wrong
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