October 15, 2016 / 10:42 AM / a year ago

UK to fast-track deal to buy German armoured vehicles - report

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Ministry of Defence wants to fast-track the purchase of 800 armoured vehicles from Germany because it fears that the fall in the value of sterling could lead to unconfirmed projects being cancelled, the Times newspaper reported on Saturday.

The logo of Germany's Rheinmetall AG is seen outside the company's headquarters in Duesseldorf, in this March 19, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/Files

A ministry spokeswoman said a decision had not been taken on the strategy for purchasing mechanized infantry vehicles, or MIV.

Citing unnamed defence industry sources, the Times said the purchase of a fleet of eight-wheeled armoured vehicles from a consortium led by Germany’s Rheinmetall [RHMG.DE] would cost 3 billion pounds ($3.73 billion).

Sterling has fallen nearly 20 percent against the U.S. dollar since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23. The Times said military officials were worried the fall in the value of the currency could force the government to postpone or cancel projects that are not already on the books.

The newspaper said that a move to seal the deal quickly on the armoured vehicles with the German-led consortium would rule out a competitive tender for the contract.

“While no decision has been taken on the acquisition strategy for MIV, our approach is competitive procurement wherever possible,” the ministry spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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