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17 Mar 08. The Rheinmetall Group of Düsseldorf has taken over Stork PWV B.V. from its parent company Stork N.V. of the Netherlands. The takeover strengthens Rheinmetall’s position as Europe’s leading supplier of systems and equipment for ground forces. It also reinforces Rheinmetall’s role in the Boxer programme, one of the largest armoured vehicle projects in Europe. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The acquisition still requires approval from the relevant competition authorities. Rheinmetall currently holds a 14% stake as a joint venture partner in Artec GmbH of Munich, the company that developed the Boxer armoured vehicle for the German and Dutch armed forces. The takeover, which includes PWV’s share in Artec, increases Rheinmetall’s interest in the company to 64%. Stork PWV is responsible for the Dutch share of the Boxer programme, which is worth around €500m and encompasses the development and production of 200 vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Army. Rheinmetall is producing 85 of the 272 vehicles ordered by Germany’s Bundeswehr, representing €212m for the Düsseldorf-based company, which is also in charge of supplying the electronic components in all of the German and Dutch vehicles, generating an additional €60m in sales. The acquisition increases Rheinmetall’s weight in what is currently Europe’s largest cross-border military vehicle project – also with respect to future Boxer export sales. At the same time, Rheinmetall is strengthening its market position in the Netherlands with a view to supporting the Royal Netherlands Army in upgrading its capabilities and further enhancing its operational readiness. Thanks to close bilateral cooperation in the defence technology domain, the Dutch armed forces operate numerous German-built military systems, including the Leopard 2 main battle tank, the PzH 2000 self-propelled
howitzer and the Fuchs/Fox armoured transport vehicle. Delivery of Boxer vehicles to the Dutch Army will begin in 2011 and continue until the end of 2016. The first Boxers are slated to reach the Bundeswehr as early as 2009.

17 Mar 08. Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering group, issued a dramatic profit warning on Monday, saying a variety of issues including a large contract cancellation would cause earnings to be €900m ($1.4bn) lower than forecast. The move will all but wipe out the German group’s net income in the current quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, and will add to jitters in world markets. Investors in industrial companies are not so much worried about weakness in order books but more about the potential for cancellations or delays. The group did not rule out further earnings problems this year from the review but said this quarter would see the largest part and it confirmed its mid-term profitability targets for 2010. The profit warning is a blow to the credibility of Peter Löscher, Siemens’ chief executive since July, in his relationship with the markets. But the cited reasons for the profits fall subtly laid the blame at his predecessors’ door. The first problems are in the power generation unit, where the number of so-called turnkey projects – to build entire power stations – has led to a shortage of trained engineers and blockages at suppliers. Mr Löscher is keen to end Siemens’ involvement in new turnkey projects, which were largely initiated by his predecessor, Heinrich von Pierer. The second problem came in the mobility unit, where delays in awarding big projects and restructuring in one of Siemens’ businesses led to problems. The final issue was in its IT division, where one of its large contracts was
cancelled. An average of analysts by Bloomberg before the announcement put Siemens’ net income for the quarter ending March 31 at €1.15bn. (Source: FT.com)

19 Mar 08. Philip Bowman, the new chief executive of Smiths Group, has put in place a two-year turnround plan to resolve problems at the UK engineering conglomerate’s

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