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Things looking good at Babcock.

Engineering firm Babcock shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding fellow ship fitter Swan Hunter yesterday, saying current trading was in line with expectations after the financial year started "very satisfactorily".

Babcock, which maintains, fits and modernises British warships, said it remained confident of the group's prospects "in the short and medium term".

It added that it was in continued talks with the Ministry of Defence over the restructuring of the UK's naval operations which the Government is keen to see consolidate.

Rival defence giants BAE Systems and VT Group were considering a pounds 700m takeover of Babcock earlier this year in a move which would have unified the nation's shipyards but talks collapsed in May.

Babcock owns a number of shipyards in Scotland including Rosyth and Faslane.

A deal with its rivals would have seen its operations combine with BAE's shipyards in Glasgow and Barrow and VT's site in Portsmouth.

In May, Babcock reported a 25% rise in annual pre-tax profits of pounds 44.6m.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 15, 2006
Words:166
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