City File: VSEL

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The Independent Online
VSEL, the Cumbria-based shipbuilder, hopes John Major's recent success in securing the huge Saudi Arabian arms order for BAe may lead to further contracts from the Middle East.

Thousands of jobs have been cut, and the shipyard area is being reduced by 40 per cent to save costs. A visit by Jonathan Aitken, the junior defence minister, has fuelled speculation that a Middle Eastern order may be on the way. 'We are in contact with Middle Eastern countries,' said a tight-lipped Lord Chalfont, VSEL's chairman, on Friday.