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VT Group sells off stake in its BVTFleet to BAE for 346m

VT GROUP has sold off its 45 per cent share in the shipbuilding unit BVT Fleet to BAE Systems, it said yesterday, for &pound;346m.<br /><br />The figure comes after adjustments for &pound;600,000 of so-called &ldquo;notional interests&rdquo;, and deductions of &pound;12.2m for pensions liabilities. <br /><br />Of the &pound;346m, VT Group will put &pound;43m into BVT for costs incurred for the provision of offshore patrol vessels around Trinidad and Tobago and Oman.<br /><br />VT Group will clear &pound;303m for the disposal of BVT. <br /><br />The sale leaves the group to focus purely on its support services business, which is made up of facilities, asset and project management, and training arms. <br /><br />VT owns and rents military construction vehicles &ndash; including bulldozers and diggers &ndash; and training aircraft.<br /><br />It also manages and maintains the majority of the Metropolitan Police&rsquo;s vehicle fleet, and British Airways&rsquo;&nbsp; (BA) ground support fleet at Heathrow and Gatwick, among other contracts.<br /><br />The group will use the cash to make further acquisitions in support services, in the UK and the US.<br /><br />By moving away from its historical shipbuilding past &ndash; the company celebrates its 150th anniversary next year &ndash; VT&rsquo;s board hopes to provide a more stable business, with better long-term visibility and growth prospects. <br /><br />&ldquo;This completes the final step of our exit from our shipbuilding and related activities,&rdquo; chief executive Paul Lester said. <br /><br />&ldquo;It will leave us in a strong financial position with net cash on our balance&rdquo;, he added.<br /><br />VT and BAE formed the&nbsp; BVT Surface Fleet in 2008. The agreement to sell off the VT stake to BAE was part of the initial deal. The terms still need to be ratified by shareholders, which will go to a vote in two to four weeks.<br />