PENNSYLVANIA MAKES FINANCIAL OFFER TO SHIPBUILDER SEEKING NAVAL YARD

PENNSYLVANIA MAKES FINANCIAL OFFER TO SHIPBUILDER SEEKING NAVAL YARD

The administration of Gov. Tom Ridge said the state has made a financial offer to the German company that wants to build luxury liners at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, which closes Friday.

The governor's office said the meeting took place Monday between delegations led by Commerce Secretary Thomas Hagen and Michael Schwarz, president of Meyer Werft/Philadelphia Inc.Details of the offer were not released, except that the state said its plan differs from a proposal made by the company in May. The state and the company have agreed not to discuss details of their talks publicly.

The company, known formally as Jos. L. Meyer GmbH & Co., is seeking $167 million in funding from state and local governments. The company estimated its project would require about $96 million from Pennsylvania. Meyer Werft expects the project to cost $387 million in total.

Meyer Werft plans to build luxury cruise vessels at the shipyard, which will close as part of the nation's post-Cold War defense cuts. It once employed nearly 50,000 people and built 53 ships during World War II.

Shipyard union officials said the Meyer Werft project could mean the saving of 2,000 full-time jobs and the creation of 4,000 construction jobs to renovate shipyard docks.