Reports: BAE, Carlyle Plan Dockyard Bid

British defense contractor BAE Systems and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group plan a joint bid for the dockyard that maintains Britain's nuclear submarines, two newspapers reported Sunday.

The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph said BAE and Carlyle hoped to take over the Devonport dockyard in southwest England, which maintains, upgrades and fuels the Royal Navy's submarine fleet.

The newspapers reported that Devonport's current owners - Balfour Beatty, Weir Group and Houston, Texas-based KBR - had appointed the UBS bank to sell the company.

Reports said a deal for the dockyard - western Europe's largest - could be worth about 200 million pounds ($392 million, 300 million euros).

BAE already owns the Barrow submarine yard in northern England, where the navy's submarines are built.

BAE refused to comment directly on the Sunday Times report, but said it was "talking to a number of parties in the submarine sector" about consolidating maritime operations, as recommended by the British government.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced plans to build a new generation of nuclear submarines to replace the four aging Vanguard subs that carry Britain's nuclear deterrent, the Trident missile.

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