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BUSINESS NEWS

11 Apr 08. General Electric Co posted an unexpected 6 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Friday, the biggest shock yet to American industry from the credit crisis and the latest sign the U.S. economy may be in a recession. The second-largest U.S. company by market capitalization said profit fell about
20 percent at its financial services arms, which accounted for more than a third
of GE’s total revenue in the quarter. But weakness in health care and industrial
divisions also weighed on results. The news sent GE shares down more than 11 percent in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange, the sharpest drop in two decades, dragging down global markets. “It’s confirmation that we’re in a recession,” said Jerome Heppelmann, portfolio manager at Liberty Ridge Capital in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Profit from continuing operations totalled 44 cents per share, 7 cents below analysts’ average forecast of 51 cents, according to Reuters Estimates. The company said also lowered its earnings forecast for the year, reflecting a slower economy and challenging capital markets. (Source: Reuters)

08 Apr 08. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) has acquired the stock of Ifara Tecnologias, S.L., a leading provider of middleware and client application software used to create sensor networks, for €7.0m cash. Based in Madrid, Spain, Ifara develops software technology, hardware, and developer tools used for the creation and maintenance of sensor networks for applications such as security and surveillance, force protection, reconnaissance, and maritime. Ifara’s middleware sensor platform, known as Nexus, is a turnkey solution based on an open, modular and flexible architecture. Nexus offers connectivity and integrated control of a variety of different sensors, including thermal and CCTV cameras, fence and ground sensors, alarm contacts, UAVs and radars. With Ifara’s technology, FLIR will be able to provide its customers with the capability to easily and seamlessly integrate a wide variety of sensors as required for any given project. FLIR anticipates that Nexus will ultimately become a standard feature in many products within FLIR’s Commercial Vision Systems and Government Systems divisions. In addition, Nexus features such as geo-referencing and video analytics will be sold separately to integrators and other customers. Ifara will operate as a separate business unit within FLIR’s Commercial Vision Systems division. “We are pleased to announce this transaction,” commented Earl Lewis, Chairman, President and CEO of FLIR. “Ifara has been an outstanding partner to FLIR over the past several years and we believe bringing them in-house will accelerate the adoption of Ifara’s complementary technology and help drive growth in key FLIR market segments. We welcome Ifara’s skilled and experienced team to FLIR.”

07 Apr 08. EADS Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has entered into an agreement to acquire the innovative University of Surrey spin-out company Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which specialises in the design and manufacture of small and micro satellites. This landmark deal provides the financial and industrial resources required for SSTL’s expansion and future development. Completion of the acquisition is subject to obtaining the relevant regulatory approval. SSTL is joining EADS Astrium following a decision by the University of Surrey to sell its majority stake of circa 80% in the small satellite manufacturer. SSTL will remain an independent UK company with its individual brand and unique approach to space following the agreement, whilst benefiting from access to the resources of a large corporation including design, manufacturing and test facilities. Astrium will benefit from enhanced links with the University of Surrey to support staff training and development, also leading to greater cooperation and increased research on space technology and systems.

08 Apr 08. Top executives and core shareholders

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