Alstom leading contender to build British ships

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Aug 22 (AFP) - The struggling French company Alstom is one of five candidates to manage the construction of two new aircraft carriers for Britain's Royal Navy, a newspaper reported Sunday.

LONDON, Aug 22 (AFP) - The struggling French company Alstom is one of five candidates to manage the construction of two new aircraft carriers for Britain's Royal Navy, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Alstom faced bankruptcy last year and was only saved by intervention by the French government.

The Sunday Times says it had been expected that only the British Amec company and the American firm Kellogg Brown and Root would be contenders for the contract to build the hulls but lobbying from shipbuilders meant the list was extended to five, including Alstom and the British companies VT Group and BAE Systems.

BAE Systems was chosen in 2003 with the French firm Thales to build the ships, with BAE named as prime contractor to run the entire programme.

But disagreements over costs have led to a series of changes with BAE losing its role of prime contractor to build the ships, the paper says.

The defence ministry will head what the Sunday Times calls "a broad alliance" of companies and a separate "physical integrator" will manage construction of the hulls.

The paper said that ministry officials were impressed by Alstom's construction of the 150,000 tonne luxury cruise liner Queen Mary II, showing its expertise in large-hull construction.

Although the carriers would be smaller, at 65,000 tonnes, they would have the same propulsion system. They would come into service in 2012 and 2015.

In July it was announced that BAE and Thales would be given a further eight months to agree financing of the programme which experts expect to cost nearer GPB 4 billion (USD 7.27 billion) than the planned GPB 2.9 billion (USD 5.27 billion).

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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