WEDNESDAY JUNE 13 2001
SHARES in Jarvis, the support services company, rose 18¼p to 408¼p yesterday after it sought to reassure investors that its bulging exposure to Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) would not be undermined by delays in signing government contracts.
Paris Moayedi, chief executive, said that the decision to concentrate on PFI contracts would ultimately deliver a “step-change in the company’s growth profile” despite delays in signing some contracts. Jarvis is a member of the Tube Lines consortium, which has been named as the preferred bidder to run the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
However, Mr Moayedi said yesterday that there were “serious obstacles” to overcome before the contracts are finally signed and that talks would probably continue until the end of the year.
Jarvis is also hoping to be selected as preferred bidder on the sub-surface Tube contract, which includes the District, Circle and Metropolitan lines.
Since committing itself to the public-private market, the company has seen its order book grow from £100 million to £4 billion.
Pre-tax profits for the year to March 31 were down marginally at £30.1 million, compared with £31.6 million for the previous year. Turnover in the group grew 17 per cent to £677 million.
A final dividend of 6.5p a share brings the total to 10p, up ½p on last year.
Monday June 23, 2001
Geoff Hoon, defence secretary, hit back on Friday at speculation about Labour's commitment to defence spending by confirming plans for two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.
The government had decided to order the ships - the biggest British naval vessels to be built since the second world war - as a central plank of its strategic defence review in 1998.
Budgetary pressures on the services led to speculation during the election campaign that the Ministry of Defence's commitment was waning.
But Mr Hoon told the Commons: "This government is fully committed to the carriers . . . they will deliver a formidable force projection capability."
The carriers are due to enter service in 2012 and 2015, replacing Invincible, Illustrious and Ark Royal. At between 40,000 and 50,000 tons, they will be at least double the size of their predecessors and carry 50 aircraft each.
The cost of the ships is expected to be GBP2.6bn excluding aircraft, most of which are likely to be Joint Strike Fighters.
In January, Mr Hoon announced that GBP1.3bn would be committed to the next phase of the US aircraft's development.
But some doubts linger because of the US review of defence programmes.
Companies involved in JSF believe the Pentagon has recommended that the US go ahead with the $100bn (GBP71bn) project, intended to equip the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps as well as the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
British groups are involved in JSF, but if the ground-breaking transatlantic programme were dropped, altered or delayed, the MoD might consider the US F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, France's Rafale or even a version of Eurofighter.
The Bristol-based Defence Procurement Agency is hoping to keep costs down by using the carrier project as a flagship for its own radical reforms.
It brought in Ali Baghaei, an Iranian-born marine engineer, as the first project leader to be appointed from private industry. Mr Baghaei is overseeing a competition between two potential prime contractors, BAE Systems and Thales of France, although BAE has suggested that the MoD should abandon the contest unless it is prepared adequately to fund the costs of both contestants until a choice is made in 2003.
Whichever company wins, the ships will be built in Britain. Shipyards have been measuring out spaces in which such large warships could be built.
Despite Mr Hoon's affirmation experts believe there are still many hurdles to cross. Two former senior officials, Sir Michael Alexander and Sir Timothy Garden, argued in an article that the costs of defence equipment were rising faster than inflation and "the consequences of the arithmetic seem inescapable . . . There can be little chance . . . that the carriers . . . will ever be built".
The chief of defence staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, has said the armed forces cannot continue to carry out the tasks demanded of them without more money.
Dr Jalal Bagherli is Managing Director of Sony Semiconductor & Devices Europe, with responsibility for developing new business based around new products, technology partnerships and technology acquisition programmes in Europe. This covers Semiconductor products, LCD and Li-Ion batteries.
Prior to joining Sony in 1995, Jalal was with Texas Instrument for 10 years in a number of technical management roles, developing sub-micron ASIC and ASSP products for the telecommunications and consumer segments.
Jalal has worked for STC Semiconductors in the IC/CAD engineering field and for the University of Kent at Canterbury as a Research Scientist in the custom VLSI/CAD area.
Jalal graduated with an Honours degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Essex and subsequently completed an M.Sc course and Ph.D degree in Electronics from the University of Kent at Canterbury.
Dr Jalal Bagherli, MD Sony Semiconductor & Devices Europe.