Canadian provinces back bids for big shipyard deal

Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:31pm EDT
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - British Columbia will provide financial support for a bid by Seaspan Marine Corp's Vancouver Shipyards Co Ltd for a lucrative contract under a C$35 billion ($37 billion) Canadian government shipbuilding program.

British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell announced the province's involvement on Monday morning in Vancouver.

Providing the Vancouver shipyard wins a contract, proposed tax credits would give Seaspan C$35 million in benefits over 30 years. The province would also invest C$5 million in productivity in the marine sector.

"We are investing in our human capital by supporting the creation of marine industry jobs for years to come," Bell said in a release.

All told, three bidders are seeking part of the C$35 billion federal program, known as the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Each is backed by their respective provincial governments.

The procurement program is meant to revive Canada's shipbuilding industry, while modernizing its Navy and Coast Guard fleets.

Contracts will go to two of the three bidders: Vancouver Shipyards, Irving Shipbuilding Inc's Halifax Shipyard in Nova Scotia, and Quebec's Davie Yards. Bids were due last week, and an announcement is expected this summer.

Davie's bid was salvaged with just hours to spare last Thursday when Quebec's Superior Court approved the purchase of its assets by Upper Lakes Group. Davie is bidding in a consortium with Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin and South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.   Continued...