Swan Hunter rescue hopes on the wane

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The Independent Online
THE closure of Swan Hunter, the Tyneside shipbuilder, seemed inevitable last night after the sole bidder for the yard said it would not raise its offer price, writes Russell Hotten.

Ed James, one of the Price Waterhouse receivers, said a revised offer from the French group Soffia was inadequate and he could raise more money for creditors by selling the assets.

He said the new offer was well below the pounds 10m originally offered and 'substantially less than the price we were seeking'. A spokesman for Soffia said the company had no intention of raising its price.

Soffia wanted the yard kept open while further Ministry of Defence contracts were sought. But Mr James said Soffia wanted the receivers to finance future tender offers, which cost about pounds 1m each.

On Thursday, Mr James called for urgent talks with Soffia to discuss its offer but no meeting has taken place.

Unions representing the 600 workers left at Swan Hunter have called for last-ditch talks on Monday with all the parties, including the MoD.