End of the manufacturing road for VT Group

Posted on 2 Nov 2009 by The Manufacturer

VT Group has sold its 45% remaining shareholding in BVT Surface Fleet Limited to BAE Systems, marking the end of manufacturing for the support services group.

BVT Surface Fleet (BVT) is now wholly owned by BAE Systems and will be renamed BAE Systems Surface Ships Limited.

VT Group (VT) received a cash consideration of £346m after dividends, pension payments and other net payments. The company, formerly Vosper Thornycroft, will now focus exclusively on services, communications, support and maintenance contracts and training, bringing its core manufacturing operations to an end after a 147 year history of shipbuilding.

VT Group plc signed a legally binding agreement with BAE Systems on the formation of a surface shipbuilding and naval support joint venture company, to be called BVT Surface Fleet Ltd, on June 11 2008. The deal included VT’s acquisition of BAE Systems’ 50% shareholding in Flagship Training Ltd.

VT has exercised its put option on the joint venture, which allows it to sell its 45% share after 12 months from the formation of BVT.

Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems’ group managing director, Programmes & Support, said: “Bringing BVT into full ownership of BAE Systems further strengthens our global maritime business and is consistent with our strategy to establish a sustainable and profitable through life business in air, land and sea.

“Surface Ships has a solid order book, a clear strategy to transform the UK maritime sector and a commitment to deliver existing and future programmes.

“Our 15 year Terms of Business Agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence will sustain key industry capabilities in the UK and provides a strong platform on which to build future domestic and international business.”

VT Group chief executive Paul Lester said: “This marks the completion of our transition to a pure support services company and we are well positioned to grow the business both organically and through acquisition, using the resources from the sale of our shareholding in BVT.”

Primarily based in the UK and US, VT employs nearly 12,000 people. Over the past five years the company has doubled in size, and posted a turnover £1.096 billion to March 31 2009.