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Kvaerner To Take Over Philadelphia Shipyard

Kvaerner — the international engineering and construction group — signed an agreement to develop the former U.S. Navy yard in Philadelphia, Pa., into a stateof- the-art shipbuilding facility.

The agreement is a 99-year deal under which Kvaerner would build container vessels and tanker ships at two dry docks on the Delaware River. The first vessel to be produced by the venture would set sail in 2000. The agreement was signed at Kvaerner's Warnow shipyard near Rostock, Germany, as Tom Ridge, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania, and other members of the U.S. delegation were at Kvaerner's German yard recently, to see the facilities developed by the group since its acquisition of the former state-owned shipyard in 1992.

It is proposed that the parties will jointly develop a modern shipyard on part of the former naval facility. Extensive training programs will be implemented for the yard workforce based on Kvaerner's technology and experience. Under the terms of a draft agreement, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Delaware River Port Authority and others will contribute a total of more than $400 million of investment funding in the yard, of which about half will be for training. Extensive skills training and additional on-the-job training will be funded through various U.S.

programs.

For its part, Kvaerner will provide capital infrastructure investment of some $45 million over a five year period. Approximately $30 million of this will be provided through a loan from the Pennsylvania parties at preferential rates of interest.

The naval yard, which now serves as a mothball facility for out-of-service Navy battleships and frigates, closed as a working shipyard in 1995 with the loss of about 7,500 jobs. Kvaerner will also provide ship designs, software applications and access to its extensive R&D programs. As a measure of its commitment, Kvaerner will purchase, at cost, the first 3 ships to be built at the new facility (totaling some $80 million). These vessels will be offered for sale to the market.




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