12 Jul 05. Smiths Group, the aerospace and engineering company, has increased its available funding by £730m through a new revolving credit facility and bank loan. The group raised £660m from 11 financial institutions, which contributed to a five-year multi-currency credit facility. Smiths is expected to use the money for its general business and will replace some of its short-term bank funding with part of the money. Additionally, a further £70m has been secured from the European Investment Bank, to underpin a five-year programme of research and development activities within Europe. Smiths shares closed 2p higher at 9601/2p. (Source: FT)
06 Jul 05. Diehl, the German technologies group, of which defence technology constitutes a core area of activity, perceives the possibility that a new guided missile manufacturer could be created through the merger of its own activities in this field with the German operations of the European group MBDA, a joint venture of EADS, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica. The new guided missile group would show turnover of around 600m euros. According to management, Diehl is holding negotiations with MBDA regarding the formation of a German missile company under the operative management of Diehl. Last year, Diehl saw turnover up by 3 per cent to just under 1.60bn euros. Profit on ordinary activity rose slightly to 49.4m euros, while post-tax profit fell from 22.3m euros to 18.3m euros. In VA Systeme, the largest part of the group, comprising avionics and defence technology, turnover fell from 651m euros to 622m euros, hindered by a slowing down in defence spending and the weak US dollar. For the current year, the company is expecting turnover of 1.65bn euros. It perceives the possibility that the effects of a stagnation or reduction in defence spending could be balanced by the market for homeland security – protection against terrorist attacks. (Source: FT Deutchland/Original article by Gerhard Hegmann)
13 Jul 05. Saab, the Swedish aerospace and defence group in which BAE Systems holds 20 per cent, said it would continue cutting costs and seek more international growth after reporting a sharp drop in net profit for the second quarter. It was hampered by a SKr250m ($32m) charge over delays in supplying a helicopter systems order and lower margins in its key Gripen fighter jet programme. The Gripen has suffered disappointing international sales. Saab said its net profit shrank to SKr154m in the second quarter against SKr269m in the same period in 2004 on sales that grew to SKr4.61bn from SKr4.56bn. Sales are expected to improve by 8 per cent this year, but operating margins will fall below last year’s 9.3 per cent, Saab said. (Source: FT/Rupini Bergström, Stockholm)
08 Jul 05. LG Philips LCD, the world’s second largest maker of liquid crystal displays, disappointed investors on Friday after it outlined plans to sell up to 26.85m shares, raising about $1.2bn to fund further investment. The group, whose major shareholders are South Korea’s LG Electronics and Philips of the Netherlands, had been widely expected to sells shares to fund expansion but the figure was far higher than many had forecast, sending the shares down. LG Philips said it had filed a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulator, for a follow-on offering of about 26.85m primary shares in the form of American Depositary Shares. As part of that filing Philips said it may offer 6.71m secondary shares, understood to be worth up to $300m, in the US market or on the Korean Exchange through a private placement. LG Electronics is also considering the sale of a portion of its interest in the company in the same private placement. Philips reiterated that it would sell the same number of shares as LG Electronics so that their respective shareholdings in LG Philips remained identical. LG and Philips currently each hold 145m LG Philips shares, representing about 44.6 per cent of the total.
11 Jul 05. Gila