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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Vickers taken over by Alvis
Vickers Challenger tank
Vickers makes Challenger tanks for the UK army
The Newcastle tank maker Vickers has finally changed hands after being bought in a 16m deal by its Midlands rival, Alvis.

The takeover had been expected for some time, but needed clearance from the government's competition authorities before Rolls-Royce could sell Vickers.

The move completes the consolidation of the British armoured vehicle industry.

The deal looks set to make Alvis - which has its main manufacturing plant in Telford, Shropshire - the country's biggest manufacturer of armoured cars.

'Cautiously optimistic'

Dave Harrison is the regional officer for the union, Amicus, representing the 500-strong workforce at the Scotswood Road plant in Newcastle.

Mr Harrison said: "We are cautiously optimistic about the future. There are no changes on the cards at the present time.

"Alvis will be looking at their workload and planning for the future, but at the moment Vickers is actually a bigger defence module, and the pair will compliment one another.

"There are no plans at the moment to downsize the Vickers operation, if we can win work then the jobs will be there.

"As far as Alvis is concerned we are an addition to their concern. The name Vickers has a high-profile reputation."

'Nation's armourer'

Rolls-Royce and Alvis had agreed a price tag of 16.2m in cash, subject to the approval of Alvis shareholders and regulators in the UK and South Africa.

There have been faltering export orders for Vickers' flagship product, the Challenger II tank.

Vickers Defence Systems notched up sales of 160m last year, while profits came in at 37m.

The company was part of the Vickers defence and engineering giant, known as the "armourer to the nation" during World War II, which Rolls-Royce acquired for 576m in 1999.


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02 Aug 02 | Business
07 Mar 02 | Business
04 Feb 02 | England
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