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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK

Business: The Company File

Kvaerner sale talks

At least three expressions of interest have been received

The taskforce set up to try to save the Kvaerner Govan shipyard are meeting a potential buyer on Friday.

Sir Gavin Laird: Nothing tangible yet
Representatives of the Dutch owners of Tyneside's Swan Hunter Yard are in Glasgow for talks on the future of the Clyde base.

[ image: 2,000 jobs are under threat at Kvaerner]
2,000 jobs are under threat at Kvaerner
Taskforce Chairman Sir Gavin Laird says they have expressed genuine interest in taking over the facility.

But he sounded a note of caution: "Although we are delighted that Swan Hunter are coming to us, I don't want to kid people on.

"It's striking that balance and yes, there has been other interest expressed but to what extent we don't know yet. We are ploughing that furrow right now.

"I don't want to make any public pronouncements until we have got something very tangible and we don't have that yet."

Support stunning

Sir Gavin said the support he has received since the threat to the yard first emerged has been stunning.

He believes things are looking slightly more hopeful than they were on Tuesday when the Kvaerner group announced it was quitting the Clyde and putting the yard on the market.

The move is threatening about 2,000 jobs - many of them at Govan and others in the Clydebank turbine plant.

Since it was taken over by the Dutch consortium Swan Hunter has built up a healthy order book for ship repair work.

Its approach is regarded as serious although analysts believe that if the consortium does take over Govan, the core workforce is unlikely to remain as high as the 800 currently employed there.

At least three other companies are understood to have asked the taskforce for particulars of the yard and it's facilities.

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