Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

CAMMELL LAIRD CALLS IN RECEIVERS

Cammell Laird, the Birkenhead-based ship repair group, is to go into receivership, putting 3,500 jobs at risk, wrote The Financial Time on April 11. The company, which has debts of about $178M, said it had asked its bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland, to appoint receivers to sell its assets.
The British shipbuilder is bidding for the Varna shipyard. Its European management director Tom Pary said several days ago that the Varna shipyard could be up and running by July if the bid is approved by Bulgarian courts. Several attemps by the Bulgarian government to sell the Varna shipyard failed before it decided to seek insolvency for it in May 1999.
A series of events had caused significant damage to the trading and financial position of the group, Cammell said in a statement. Last month, Cammell appointed Close Brothers, the corporate adviser, to undertake a strategic review, saying it would look at all options including a possible restructuring of its debts.
However, it is thought the company's trading position was insufficiently strong to secure any further bank or shareholder support.
The company said last Wednesday it had enjoyed high confidence of its prospects up to autumn last year. However, record order inquiries had not translated into firm orders.
Cammell Laird had been hoping to secure a $500M contract to build two cruise ships for Luxus, a US start-up company. However, it failed to secure crucial government loan guarantees.
Trade unions and workers on Merseyside and Tyneside, where more than 2,000 workers are employed, said they were saddened by the news.
Cammell Laird was seen on Merseyside as a great revival story. It was created 150 years ago, but closed in the early 1990s in the face of competition from Korea and Japan.
The name was revived in 1995 and confidence and profitability were restored as the company built sales in refit and repair.
The company made pre-tax profits last year of nearly 30M, but it was heading for a 20M loss this year.

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