Babcock to close small English shipyard as orders dry up

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - British engineering and defence firm Babcock International(L:BAB) said it was closing its Appledore shipyard in Devon, a "difficult" decision after orders ran out.

The southwest England yard had completed an Irish Navy order for an offshore patrol vessel in the last few weeks but did not carry out orders from Babcock's main client, Britain's Ministry of Defence.

It had not had any new work for some time, a source familiar with the situation said. The cost of closing the site, the lease of which runs out in March, will be disclosed at a half year announcement later this month.

Babcock said it hoped to offer all 199 of those employed at Appledore new work opportunities at other Babcock facilities, such as at nearby Devonport, which is a British Navy dockyard.

In 2017/18, Appledore generated around 24 million pounds ($31 million) of the group's total underlying revenue of 5.4 billion pounds.

"Babcock very much regrets having to take this course of action and recognises the impact it will have on its dedicated and professional workforce," the group said in a statement.