Cammell Laird shipyards are to be mothballed when work runs out next week, receivers have announced. Contracts at Birkenhead on Merseyside and on Tyneside will both end next Tuesday, leaving both yards with no work and more than 500 workers facing redundancy. Receivers said that it was now "unlikely" that the yards could be sold as going concerns. A statement from PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "In these circumstances the receivers will have no option but to mothball the yards, retaining a skeleton staff to maintain them until they are sold." Cammell Laird called in receivers in April and announced more than 600 job cuts in the UK this year after several cancelled orders devastated its fragile business.
The company blamed much of its financial problems on a U-turn by cruise firm Costa Crociere over a £50m ship-lengthening deal. Laird's yard in Birkenhead will close next week once refits to HMS Argus and Peregrine are completed. The Tyneside yard will be mothballed following the end of repairs to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Grange next week.
Ian Stokoe, from PricewaterhouseCooper, said: "Since their appointment more than three months ago, the receivers have endeavoured to continue trading the Cammell Laird business with the overriding aim of achieving a going-concern sale. "In this process the receivers have received tremendous support from the workforce in what have been very difficult circumstances and from the Ministry of Defence which has continued to award work to the group. "The receivers have successfully undertaken a number of new contracts for the MoD and commercial owners during the receivership period in order to provide every opportunity to achieve going concern sales.
"Unfortunately, despite these efforts, work will run out around the end of July. "In these circumstances the receivers will have no option but to 'mothball' the yards, retaining a skeleton staff to maintain them until they are sold.