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Three eye Rolls aero engine job

CONTRACTS - EAST KILBRIDE

ROLLS-ROYCE has lined up three firms to price a £45 million deal to build an aircraft engine factory in Scotland.

Bowmer & Kirkland, Amec and Miller will find out later this month which has landed the deal at East Kilbride, south of Glasgow. Work will start next month. All will be fancying their chances. Bowmer & Kirkland will be particularly hopeful after bagging a £45 million deal to build a jet engine factory in the Filton area of Bristol two years ago.

The state-of-the-art, 36,000 sq m factory at the Langlands business park will replace ageing facilities at the nearby Nerston factory and will be used to repair and overhaul engines for civil aircraft.

The company has invested £150 million in its operations north of the border over the past two years. In this case the Scottish Executive is providing an £8 million grant towards the cost of the development.

A number of firms looked at the contract but were put off by the terms of the deal, which is being let as a single-stage tender.

One source said: 'Singlestage deals are just too expensive. There's nothing wrong with the job, it's just the form of procurement that put us off.'

The factory is a welcome boost for UK industry after Rolls-Royce announced last year it would shift aircraft engine testing from Hucknall in Nottinghamshire to a £23 million facility across the Atlantic at the John Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Work to build this facility began last month.

Rolls-Royce is the secondlargest engine manufacturer in the world after General Electric, supplying more than 600 airlines and posting sales of £3.5 billion in 2005.