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BUSINESS NEWS 03 Apr 05

03 Apr 05. BAE Systems is considering a £250 million sale of its Atlas Elektronik business, signalling that it is looking to use proceeds from European divisions to increase its presence in the US. Defence industry sources said they had been sounded out in recent weeks as BAE assessed interest in the unit, which makes tracking and sensor equipment for use in submarines. Analysts said the business was a likely candidate for sale. One analyst said: ‘It has sales of £250m, but it is not really a margin business, so you’d be looking at about £200m. But there is interest from Thales [of France], EADS [the aerospace firm] and possibly Finmeccanica [of Italy] so it could end up in an auction, which could see the price go up to £250m.’ A BAE spokesman said a number of options were being considered for Atlas as restructuring and consolidation in the European Defence industry gathered pace. (Source: Observer)

05 Apr 05. Finmeccanica, the Italian aerospace and engineering group, would be interested in the majority acquisition of a small or medium-sized company in the defence electronics sector, chief executive Francesco Guarguaglini said yesterday. Speaking at a meeting with City analysts in London, Mr Guarguaglini added that he intended to increase the group’s presence in the US fourfold from its current turnover level of $80m per year. He also confirmed that the group intends to dispose of its non-core engineering divisions in order to focus on defence, but said that, in the meantime, results at those civilian industries were improving and that they would be kept in good health until a sale was arranged. Finmeccanica has been in talks with Fintecna, the Italian state holding company, to sell the units. Finmeccanica also announced yesterday that it intends to carry out a 20-for-1 reverse stock split. The move is expected to increase share liquidity by reducing transaction costs, according to finance director Alessandro Pansa, and will allow for easier comparison with other sector shares.
Comment: this statement echoes those made by Stefazn Zoller of EADS at the Paris Air Show in 2001. As he found, there are few firms available to but apart from the ubiquitous YUltra whre sources suggest that very time Julian Blough is approached, he increases debt in the company to make it unattaractive to any potential purchaser! (Source: Original article by Marco Niada, Abstracted from Il Sole 24 Ore)

05 Apr 05. EADS is in advanced talks to buy Nokia Corp.’s (NOK) professional mobile radio business to strengthen its security systems operations, the companies said Tuesday. The deal would be worth just over EUR90 million, a Nokia spokesman said. The Finnish company’s PMR business, which includes infrastructure and terminals based on the Tetra digital radio standard, comprises 325 employees who would be transferred to EADS and has annual sales of about €100m. EADS said the acquisition would enable it tap more opportunities in the growing global homeland security market. Radio devices using the Tetra standard are employed by police forces and other public bodies that require secure communications. EADS, like many other defense and aerospace companies, has been looking to bolster its exposure in security and communications as governments around the world raise their spending on public safety and security. EADS sees global market potential of over €10bn within the next five years in this field. “This acquisition would give us strength to enter new business in all markets, including North America,” said Michel Josserand, head of EADS’ professional mobile radio unit.Nokia spokesman Thomas Joensson said his company – the world’s largest mobile phone maker – had seen a need for consolidation in the PMR business. “Our market channels in selling to public sector authorities are not as strong as EADS’. We have therefore decided to leave the business,” he said. Nokia will, at least initially, remain as a supplier of platform technology to EADS.

05 Apr

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