US bids for top British science centre
Tuesday 18 April 1995
Two large American groups are among the potential buyers of the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, west London
The Department of Trade and Industry is considering five bids, including one from a group led by EDS Scicon, the US software and services giant, and another from a consortium headed by Brown and Root, a leading US engineering conractor.
The US bidders are in competition with the nuclear engineering division of Rolls Royce and with WS Atkins, one of the UK's major civil engineering specialists. The fifth bidder is thought to be Serco, which has operating links with scientific establishments in the UK.
The sale to foreign firms of a national asset such as the NPL would be certain to provoke controversy. The laboratory works closely with government and industry in developing standards - for example in the development of safety-critical software and in measurement.
Total employment is approximately 750 people - many of them highly-qualified scientists and technical staff - with a turnover of £50m in 1993/94.
The DTI, which in the past has spent about £40m a year at the NPL, is expected to guarantee five years of work for the new owners. This would probably amount to £30m a year, payable on a project by project basis.
As a safeguard for the laboratory as a whole, however, the DTI is likely to hold back some of the payment pending as assessment over time of how the new operators are running the overall enterprise.
There has been speculation that the sale of the laboratories could lead to the loss of about 300 specialist jobs. The Government is expected to take into account the employment plans of the bidders in drawing up a shortlist. The DTI is at working on a shortlist of bidders and the sale is expected to be complete by the end of June.
It has emerged that the Government may also dispose of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist through a trade sale.
Originally the LGC, which is also based in Teddington, was to be established as a non-profit distributing organisation but the DTI now appears to be considering other options. The LGC has a staff of just over 300 and a turnover of £16m.
Progress is also continuing with the sale of the National Engineering Laboratory at East Kilbride.
The NEL carries out seismic and structural testing and is a source of expertise in industrial computing and renewable energy.
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...