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27 Oct 08. EADS offered to buy a 20.8 per cent stake in French electronics firm Thales from telecoms maker Alcatel-Lucent for 1. €81bn ($1.46bn) earlier this month, a source close to the matter said on Monday. “On October 3, EADS submitted an offer of 44 euros per share to Alcatel-Lucent,” the source said, adding that no response has so far been forthcoming. EADS said it “had not made any binding offer to Alcatel-Lucent” and declined any further comment. Alcatel-Lucent neither confirmed nor denied that it received an EADS offer but said it would “examine all possible strategic options in the best interests of shareholders.” On October 13, French plane maker Dassault Aviation said it would be interested in the Alcatel-Lucent stake in Thales if it should come up for sale. (Source: Google)

27 Oct 08. GKN warned of a sharp fall in demand for its vehicle components and predicted that pre-tax profits for this year would be around 20 per cent below
2007. Shares in the UK engineering group plummeted more than 17 per cent in early trading after it said automotive sales in the final three months of 2008 would be 15 per cent below the same period last year. In an interim management statement issued after the end of the third quarter, it said profits in the automotive division would fall 70 per cent in the fourth quarter, given the time taken to readjust operations in the light of falling demand. With “significant further deterioration” in demand in automotive markets around the world, the group said it was taking action to reduce output, including plant closures, cuts in workforce and short-time working. The warning reflects the impact on the components sector of the sharp downturn in the global automotive industry, with large car and lorry manufacturers around the world announcing cuts in output for the final quarter. GKN said it was drawing up plans to restructure its businesses to deal with an expected fall in automotive sales next year of 8 per cent. It will cut its capital investment programme to provide the cash needed to pay for the reorganisation and will review its final dividend when announcing the full-year results in February. GKN also expects to be hit in the fourth quarter by the machinists’ strike at Boeing’s commercial aircraft facilities which will reduce profits by between £10m and £12m in the period. Falling US demand would lead to a writedown of around $100m in the “large segment” Sinter business, which makes powder metal components. Group sales for the first three quarters of 2008 were 7 per cent ahead of the same period last year, with a slight improvement in pre-tax profit before exceptionals. But production in large automotive markets fell in August, reducing activity by 5 per cent. The forecast of an 8 per cent sales fall in automotive next year assumes further significant falls in demand in North America and Europe and no improvement in emerging markets. While aerospace markets have remained “robust” and in line with expectations, the group expects a softening of markets in the civil sector next year, but believes a fall of up to 10 per cent in sales would have only a small impact on 2009 profits. GKN said the outlook for aerospace defence markets remained solid, with the US president’s 2009 budget approved this month. The group’s financing position was strong, it said, with net borrowings of £693m and funding arrangements in place – including a further £180m when the purchase of the Filton Airbus manufacturing site is completed in January. The first maturity of its unsecured bonds is in 2012, with committed bank facilities maturing in 2010 and 2013. The only covenant is that interest be covered at least 3.5 times by ebitda – cover is currently around nine times. (Source: FT.com)

30 Oct 08. Thales (TCFP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday reported third-quarter sales up 1 percent to €2.635bn, largely line with expectations, and took a €60mcharge on a major defence program

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