UK may still outsource weapons buying after CH2M Hill pulls out

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Britain said it would continue exploring plans to put its 159 billion pound ($256 billion) military equipment buying programme in the hands of a private firm, even after one of the two consortia left in the running pulled out.

U.S. engineer firm, CH2M Hill, which was leading a team with Serco and Atkins said on Tuesday it had withdrawn from the bidding to run Britain's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) unit, in a team with Serco and Atkins .

"The Department, with the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, will now study the detailed proposal received from Materiel Acquisition Partners (led by Bechtel with PA and PwC in support)," Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement.

"This analysis will inform a decision on whether it is in the public interest to proceed with only a single commercial bidder and an internal option, or whether alternative approaches should be considered and a further statement will be made once this process is complete."