Second bid appears for Cammell Laird

Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity is backing another management team bid for the troubled ship builder.

Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity [AMJPE] is backing a bid by members of the management team from Cammell Laird for the receivership-beset company.

The firm's former group operations director, John Syvret, development director Brett Martin and engineering director Tom Williams have announced that they are making a fully funded and unconditional bid for both the Birkenhead and Tyneside ship yards.

AMJPE has been monitoring the company's progress for many years, having come close to backing a buy-out of the firm in 1993. The accumulated knowledge it has gathered about the shipbuilder and its management has made backing a bid all the more obvious today.

Gary Tipper, a Director at AMJPE's Manchester office commented that 'most of the pain has been taken' by the receivers PriceWaterhouse Coopers [PWC]. Only 200 of a pre-receivership employee count of 4000 still remain at the company. The imperative now, said Tipper, was to reach a rapid conclusion to negotiations and to start rebuilding Cammell Laird's empty order book.

Cammell Laird's future was sealed in the opinion of many by the cancellation of a major liner refit by leisure group Costa. This bought the company to its knees and prompted its major creditor, Royal Bank of Scotland, to call in the receivers.

Another management bid has already been submitted to PWC for the Birkenhead yard alone.

Cammell Laird Holdings Plc is involved in ship repair, conversion and building, yacht building and repair and associated engineering activities. At fiscal year end 2000, the company had ten shipyards and access to thirty dry-docks. During fiscal year 2001 the Group acquired Marseilles and Oregon. Ship conversion and repair in the UK accounted for 76% of gross revenues; marine electrical work, 13%; ship repair in Gibraltar, 6% and other revenues, 5%.

The company reported sales of £138.5m (US$196.75m) for fiscal year ending April 2000, an increase of 30% over 1999 [£106.3m].