Ship repair group buys Cammell Laird yards

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The receivers to Cammell Laird yesterday sold its shipyards at Tyneside and Birkenhead on Merseyside to A&P, a privately owned Southampton-based ship repair business, ending months of uncertainty for the company.

The future for Cammell Laird's remaining 200 workers remained unclear.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, appointed as receiver in April, would not say how much A&P paid for the yards but said the buyer had also acquired an option to take an assignment of the lease on Cammell Laird's other UK shipyard on Teesside.

A spokesman for PwC said the A&P offer was chosen after a "period of extensive marketing and detailed negotiations with a number of interested parties".

A&P, which is majority-owned by Royal Bank Private Equity, said in a statement. "We believe our bid is the best option for maintaining a long-term ship repair capability in the UK and where possible for attracting new work."

A&P was reported last week as having tabled its second offer to buy Cammell Laird with a £10m bid for the entire business. Its first bid, in conjunction with private equity firm Alchemy, fell apart in June.

A&P has also seen off two rival bidders. John Syvret and Brett Martin, former directors of Cammell Laird, also submitted bids for the Birkenhead and Tyneside shipyards while a second MBO team had offered to buy the Birkenhead yard alone.

Receiver Ian Stokoe at PwC said yesterday: "We have endeavoured since our appointment, through continuing existing contracts and undertaking new work, to produce an environment which would have made a going-concern sale possible. Unfortunately, despite all these efforts a going-concern sale has not been achieved.