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    Cammell Laird active on two continents

    News // September 7, 2000
    UK-based ship repair group Cammell Laird has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the creditors of Varna shipyard in Bulgaria, and taken a 49 per cent equity stake in Cascade General in the US, and could assume full control of Portland-based Cascade General within two years.

    Following a creditors meeting held at the Varna yard at the end of August, the Directors of Cammell Laird Holdings Plc thanked the yard's creditors for their support for their proposed rehabilitation plan presented by the official Receiver for the yard,which included the bid previously made by CammellLaird for Varna.

    The Chief Executive Officer of Cammell Laird, John Stafford, said "We would wish to recognise the vital support of the workers whose voting for the rehabilitation of Varna Shipyard AD was overwhelming, and the unsecured creditors, who also provided considerable support for the Rehabilitation Plan. We would wish also to recognise the vital input and involvement of the State Administrators and politicians in enabling and encouraging foreign investment into this major Bulgarian facility."

    Cammell Laird says it now looks forward to moving into the due diligence process and detailed contractual discussions as soon as possible. Its aim now is to quickly reach the point at which it can begin the re-hiring of personnel and start up of operations at the yard.

    Cammell Laird Group Marketing Director Chris Millman commented, "We are very excited by the possibilities that the Varna facility offers us. It will add a new dimension to the Group portfolio and we already have a number of very strong enquiries which weare confident that we will quickly turn into orders."

    Following quickly on the heels of its recent investment deal in Marseilles, and the news that the Varna restructuring plan had been accepted, Cammell Laird confirmed that it had increased its involvement at Cascade General, taking a 49 per cent equity stake in a new holding company along with West Coast yard.

    Cammell Laird also confirmed that the deal includes an option for the British company to take a controlling interest within the next two years, allowing the new company to purchase the repair facility (freehold and docks) at Portland, Oregon, which is the largest single repair facility on the US West Coast. The facility is currently owned by Portland Port Authority and operated by Cascade General.

    Cascade General has leased the facility from Portland Port Authority since 1995, when it became the sole ship repair company in the port. Since then Frank Foti, Chairman of Cascade General, and future head of the new operation, has been looking to complete the buy-out.

    Cascade General currently has an annual turnover of some US$100m and wins around half of all commercial contracts that are placed with US West Coast ship repair yards. The yard has three main markets - passenger vessels, tankers, and the US Navy and auxiliary market. Last year the yard also carried out a complicated conversion project involving a drill ship for Global Marine.

    The yard operates three floating docks with lifting capacities of 87,000 tonnes (299.3m x 56.4m), 27,000 tonnes (201.5m x 34.8m) and 15,000 tonnes (182.3m x 26.8m) and alongside berths of 2,326m at a maximum draft of 12.2m.

    Cammell Laird's Group Marketing Director described the acquisition as a very exciting one, which would provide the company with the opportunity to penetrate further into the cruise and offshore markets.

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