Tag Archives: Philip Dunne

Nuclear Sub Protection Plan For Rolls-Royce

Nuclear Sub Protection Plan For Rolls-Royce

The financial woes at Rolls-Royce could result in the nationalisation of its nuclear submarine division, under contingency plans.

13:49, UK,Monday 14 December 2015

HMS Vengeance

HMS Vengeance is part of UK’s Trident fleet – powered by Rolls-Royce

Plans to protect the UK’s interests if the company powering the country’s nuclear deterrent runs into deeper trouble have been reportedly drawn up by the Government.

Rolls-Royce’s nuclear submarine business – which maintains the nuclear reactor propulsion systems aboard the Navy’s four Trident-fitted submarines – could even be nationalised under the contingency plans, according to the Financial Times.

It said several options had been drawn up to cover various scenarios, including the possibility of a takeover bid for the group by a foreign firm.

While there are existing safeguards to ensure the Government must approve any such deal, investors would perhaps be forgiven for considering any interest, given the fact the Rolls-Royce share price has lost a third of its value this year alone.

The company has issued a string of profit warnings – its problems exacerbated by weaker defence spending and lower demand for its services in the oil and gas industry following the collapse in commodity prices.

The company outlined the initial phase of its turnaround strategy under new chief executive, Warren East, a fortnight ago.

It involved hundreds of senior managers losing their jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds being slashed from the company’s annual cost base.

Its biggest shareholder, the American activist fund, ValueAct, has attracted particular attention.

It is pressing Rolls to go further and sell off its marine engine division – a move Mr East has signalled he is reluctant to do.

ValueAct is also seeking a place on the board.

Sky News reported last week that Value Act’s stake in Rolls-Royce – which remains one of the Government’s most important suppliers and engineering contractors – was said to have attracted increasing attention from senior Whitehall officials.

Representatives of both firms were expected to meet in Derby this week.

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said on Monday: “We are in contact with Government as a matter of routine and regularly keep them updated on our performance and progress.”

The defence procurement minister Philip Dunne told the FT last week the Government was “concerned” Rolls-Royce was able to maintain its nuclear obligations and would “take a view in the event there was corporate activity.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said today: “Rolls-Royce is a major contributor to our economy. It’s an important supplier to the government. We will continue to work closely with them. I’m not going to get into specifics about the company’s future.”

Link – Sky News story

UK – MPs back submarine building in Barrow

Workers at Barrow’s BAE Systems plant in front of an Astute class submarine

MPs and members of the House of Lords met to show their support for the UK’s submarine building industry, a key employer in the North West.

Politicians met with key figures in the industry and representatives of the supply chain and trade unions, who wanted to illustrate the chain of jobs that sten form submarine construction in areas like Barrow.

The event was supported by BAE Systems and the Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign, a trade union organisation which campaigns to keep high-tech jobs in the North West and across the UK.

Philip Dunne MP, minister for defence equipment, and Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s shadow secretary of state, were among those who spoke at the event to show their strong support for Britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

All the speakers paid tribute to the cutting edge work of the firms forming the supply chain for the Astute-class submarines, currently under construction in Barrow, and stressed the importance for these firms of the Vanguard replacement programme.

John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, who hosted the event said:

“It was fantastic to see so many MPs and peers from every corner of the country and all political parties coming to meet representatives of the firms and workers who form the supply chain for Britain’s cutting edge submarines. They will have been left in no doubt of the importance of the submarine programme to supporting British manufacturing and rebalancing the economy, as well as to securing Britain’s security – I hope they will bear this in mind when the time comes in 2016 to make a decision on renewing our at-sea nuclear deterrent.

“I am particularly grateful for the strong political support given to the submarine programme by government and opposition frontbenchers, Philip Dunne and Jim Murphy, in their speeches – the 1,200 firms in the supply chain will have taken heart from what they both said.”

Source – ITV News