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BUSINESS NEWS

06 Jun 08. Italy’s Finmeccanica is considering selling its stake in STMicroelectronics (STM.PA: Quote, Profile, Research)(STM.N: Quote, Profile,
Research) to help fund its $4bn purchase of U.S. military contractor DRS
Technologies Inc (DRS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), a top executive said on
Friday. The stake is worth between 230 and 240m euros ($359 to $375m),
Finance Director Alessandro Pansa said at a shareholder meeting. Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) will also likely sell about 60 percent of its Ansaldo Energia unit in a public offering and launch a capital increase of not more than 1.4bn euros to help fund the DRS deal, Chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini said. The company had previously said it planned a capital increase and an offering of the Ansaldo Energia unit but had not specified the likely size for each. Shareholders approved a new board at the meeting and reconfirmed Guarguaglini as chairman of the Italian defence and aerospace group, in which the Italian Treasury has a 33.7 percent stake. Enjoying steady profit growth, a good order backlog and modest debt levels, Finmeccanica has been looking to grow through acquisitions and agreed to buy DRS last month to boost its presence in the lucrative U.S. defence market. The company is in talks with the economy ministry to decide on the size of its planned capital increase, Pansa said. Separately, Guarguaglini said Finmeccanica still remains open to an alliance in
defence electronics with France’s Thales (TCFP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research). In
the past, Guarguaglini has said the two companies could merge their defence
electronics units. He also said the company’s Ansaldo Breda unit should reach break-even by the end of the year, after which Finmeccanica will decide whether to sell it in a public offering or find a partner for it, he said. (Source: Google)

12 Jun 08. Crédit Mutuel, one of France’s biggest retail banks, yesterday reignited the controversy over alleged insider dealing at EADS, according to Lagardère, one of the Franco-German aerospace group’s core shareholders. Lagardère said Crédit Mutuel had threatened court action if it did not negotiate over bonds convertible into EADS shares that the bank acquired just two months before the aerospace group issued a shock profits warning in June 2006. Since April 2006, EADS shares have tumbled 61 per cent to last night’s €13.60.
Lagardère said yesterday it would “not give in to Crédit Mutuel’s threats”, which it said came in a letter from the bank’s lawyer. “This strange attempt is on several counts devoid of any legal justification,” the media group said.Crédit Mutuel did not reply to calls. French authorities are investigating share sales by EADS management and its two core industrial shareholders, Lagardère and Daimler of Germany, in the run-up to the announcement of severe delays and operational difficulties in the group’s Airbus subsidiary. The profit warning wiped 26 per cent off the value of EADS shares and the share sales sparked a national outcry when the extent of the problems became public.EADS is also under investigation over its communication with the market ahead of the profit warning. (Source: FT.com)

11 Jun 08. Britain’s two largest shipbuilders have sealed a long-awaited deal to form a joint venture that will provide the Royal Navy with the largest surface warships constructed in the UK. The shipbuilding champion created by BAE Systems and VT Group is expected within weeks to sign a £3.9bn contract to supply HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, two new aircraft carriers. The duo has appointed Sir John Parker, who heads the board of National Grid, as chairman designate. Alan Johnston, a previous managing director of helicopter maker AgustaWestland and who has a long background in naval shipbuilding, is chief executive designate. In signing the legally binding agreement after months of delay, BAE and VT have paved the way for construction

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