Vosper Thornycroft Holdings Plc hopes to move its shipbuilding operations to Portsmouth from Southampton, including its work on the Royal Navy's new destroyer. The company said it had compared the merits of Portsmouth Naval Base and its current shipyard at Woolston, Southampton and that greater space at Portsmouth gave it clear advantages. "Portsmouth is our preferred location, but any move will be subject to successful negotiations with the Ministry of Defense for the lease of land and securing the short-term and long-term shipbuilding contracts that we need," Vosper chief executive Martin Jay said in a statement. Any short-term work would continue to be carried out at Woolston until 2003.
In July, Vosper won part of a billion pound contract awarded
to defense group BAE Systems to build three new Type 45 warships and they have been in discussions since then to decide detailed arrangements for the construction and assembly of the ships. "If we can secure the contracts that we need, we very much hope that all of our shipbuilding workforce will move with us," the statement said. The company said it would keep its corporate headquarters in Southampton.