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BUSINESS NEWS

29 Jul 08. A July 29 announcement by Alcatel Lucent that its two top executives are leaving the company puts a question mark over a 21 percent stake in defense systems company Thales held by the loss-making telecommunications maker. Alcatel Lucent shares rose as much as 6 percent on news that chairman Serge Tchuruk and CEO Pat Russo had resigned, after the company reported a 1.1bn euro ($1.73bn) net loss in the quarter ended June 30. That was the sixth successive quarterly loss. Alcatel has been a core industrial shareholder in Thales since 1998, under Tchuruk’s direction. Tchuruk previously trimmed the holding before lifting the stake to 21 percent, paying for the shares with a transfer of space and critical systems businesses to Thales. Zafar Kahn, an analyst at French brokerage Société Générale said, “the stake gives them another chip to play with. But the most important thing is to get a new management and a strategy.” There has been market speculation that Alcatel Lucent has been considering a sale of its shares in Thales, with talk that Dassault Aviation might be a potential buyer. Dassault holds about 6 percent of Thales and shareholder Serge Dassault has long said he wanted to sell the stake as it was nonstrategic. The sale has so far not materialized. Thales declined comment. What the government wants is also a factor, as the state is a shareholder in Thales. (Source: Defense News)

27 Jul 08. Philip Bowman, the chief executive of Smiths Group, is offering top executives the opportunity to take part in a private equity-style incentive plan as part of a wide-ranging restructuring designed to spark a turnround at the engineering conglomerate. Mr Bowman proposes to freeze the basic salaries of executive directors for at least two years. In exchange, directors will be able to take part in a one-off, long-term incentive plan that will pay out in Smiths shares if certain targets are exceeded. Participants will receive nothing if the targets are not met. (Source: FT.com)

29 Jul 8. ArvinMeritor, Inc. (NYSE: ARM) reported financial results for its third quarter ended June 30, 2008. Financial Highlights for Third-Quarter Fiscal Year 2008
•Sales of $2.0bn – approximately $340m higher than the same period last year.
•Net income was $44m, or $0.60 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $70m, or $0.99 per diluted share, in the third quarter of fiscal year 2007.
•Income from continuing operations, before special items, was $56m, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared to $18m, or $0.25 per diluted share, one year ago.
•Cash flow from operations, net of capital expenditures, was $59m compared to an outflow of $156m in the same period last year.
•Commercial Vehicle Systems (CVS) EBITDA margins increased by 1.2 percentage points, before special items, in the third quarter of fiscal year 2008 compared to the same period last year.
•Light Vehicle Systems (LVS) sales, largely driven by overseas markets, increased by $34m, a 6-percent increase over the same period last year (down five-percent on a constant currency basis).

25 Jul 08. Electronic component maker e2v Technologies said trading since the start of the financial year has been in line with expectations. The group said there has been continued growth across all sectors within the Electronic Tubes product group, notably increased sales of electronic sub-systems in the Defence sector in the first quarter. In Sensors and Semiconductors, the group said the markets which it serves remain challenging, though it does expect growth in the full year in this product group.

28 Jul 08. Filtronic, the wireless infrastructure and defence technology company, swung into the red as it confirmed it was close to selling its defence arm. The Shipley, Yorkshire-based group increased turnover from £38.4m to £54.6m in the year to May 31. However, a pre-tax profit of £344,000 last year turned into a £14.86m loss after the company took a £26.1m exceptional charge to c

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