Vosper wins MoD ships order

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The Independent Online
VOSPER THORNYCROFT, the Southampton-based warship yard, yesterday secured its future for the next five years after landing the contract to build the first of a new generation of Royal Navy destroyers.

The deal, agreed with the Ministry of Defence and Marconi, the prime contractor on the Type 45 Horizon programme, secures 1,000 jobs at the Woolston yard and could lead to a production order worth more than pounds 1bn. Vosper and Marconi's Yarrow yard on the Clyde will each build one of the new anti-air warfare destroyers. Design work is due to begin next year and production will start in 2002.

The MoD requirement is for 12 ships. The value of the overall programme is pounds 7bn, including weapons systems, while the work to build the 10 remaining ships is estimated at pounds 2bn. Vosper is hopeful of winning half the production order in competition with Yarrow.

News of the deal came as Vosper reported a 4 per cent increase in pre- tax profits last year to pounds 34m, and a 42 per cent increase in the order book to pounds 700m. The book was bolstered by pounds 350m of work won by Vosper's support-services division, which provides training and resource management services.

Other contracts in the pipeline include a deal under the Government's Private Finance Initiative to provide survey services for the Royal Navy, which will probably involve the construction of three vessels. Vosper is also in competition with the French and the Germans for a Greek order for three fast strike craft.

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