Shipyard alliance for tanker bid
The six tankers would be used to refuel Royal Navy ships at sea
The former Cammell Laird shipyard is to form a partnership with an Italian ship repairer in a bid to build six Royal Fleet Auxilary tanker ships.
Fincantieri announced its alliance with Birkenhead's Northwestern Shiprepairers Ltd (NSL). The move is hoped to boost a bid for the contract.
The Italian company is one of three shortlisted to build the tankers which would refuel Royal Navy ships at sea.
NSL is one of Europe's leading ship and military refit specialists.
It recently won a ?180m contract to maintain 16 Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships.
The contract for the new fleet of tankers will be tendered out by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Alberto Maestrini, executive senior vice president of Fincantieri, said: "The alliance provides Fincantieri with a strong professional ally strategically based in the UK.
"This is a case of combining the talents of Europe's largest shipbuilder with NSL who have an enviable track record of serving UK MOD in the support of the RFA fleet."
Fincantieri is one of the largest shipbuilders in Italy with eight shipyards and 9,400 workers.
NSL managing director John Syvert said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to reinforce Fincantieri's bid with expertise from a British shipyard that has a proud history of delivering some of the Royal Navy's finest vessels."