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Shipbuilding Companies

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he receives forecasts of productivity and profitability from the management of Govan Shipbuilders, Cammell Laird, Harland and Wolff and the former Court Line companies, respectively; and, if so, for how far forward such forecasts are made.

Forecasts of productivity and profitability are received from Govan Shipbuilders, Cammell Laird and the former Court Line companies. The time scale of the forecasts varies from company to company, but overall the forecasts extend from a one-year period to a four-year period. Questions on Harland and Wolff should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry to what extent there are privately-held minority shareholders in the nationalised former Court Line companies; and what proposals he has for the purchase by the Government of these holdings.

£650,000 cumulative preference shares in North-East Coast Shiprepairers Ltd. are privately owned. In my statement of 4th November last I announced that shareholders and long-term debenture holders would be compensated.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what capital investment is made or proposed in respect of the modernisation schemes for Govan Shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, and Cammell Laird, separately and in total; and what losses have been incurred by each company separately and in total since they became State-owned.

The capital investment programmes at both Cammell Laird and Govan are currently being reviewed. The audited losses of Govan for its financial years ending 29th December 1972 and 28th December 1973 were £1·1 million and £2·2 million, respectively. Cammell Laird was in profit in both years. Questions about Harland and Wolff should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what information is regularly provided to him by the management of Govan Shipbuilders.

Detailed financial information is received from the company including monthly cash flow statements; monthly, quarterly and six monthly profit and loss statements; annual report and accounts; and a corporate plan, revised annually. A monthly schedule for each yard showing the steelwork performance and shipbuilding programme is received together with copies of the minutes of board meetings. In addition the managing director, in a separate report each month, comments on the order book position, capital spending, industrial relations, and general financial matters.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what the level of capital investment made by the shipbuilding companies listed for nationalisation in the statement of July 1974 has been in the last five years; and to what extent this investment has been financed by the Government;

(2) what the profit or losses have been in each of the last five years of the shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering companies listed for nationalisation in his statement of July 1974 ( a) in total, and ( b) for each company.

I have no responsibility for the financial performance of private sector companies. Such financial information as is available may be obtained from company accounts. Details of the Government asssistance given to shipbuilding companies for the last 10 years under schemes or arrangements specific to shipbuilding were published in the Official Report on 22nd November 1974.—[Vol. 881, c. 542–545.]

asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what date he first received written comments on the discussion paper on public ownership of the shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering industries from the trade unions concerned.

The first written comments from a trade union concerned were received on 13th December 1974.