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17 Nov 05. According to reports, a decision is to be made on the sale of Atlas Elektronik, the German naval electronics specialist, before the end of November. At present, the company belongs to UK group BAE Systems. Offers have been received from French electronics group Thales, US company L-3 and a consortium consisting of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), the naval systems division of German steel and engineering group ThyssenKrupp, and European aeronautic defence and space company EADS. As Atlas is an armaments company, the German government has the right to veto the sale if it believes it would be damaging to national interests. The previous government had indicated that it would prefer a sale to a German company, rather than to Thales, in which the French government has a stake of around 30 per cent. The coalition partners for the future German government have agreed to maintain this position. Thales is hoping to remove the government’s reservations; the company says it is prepared to ensure that the submarine division is run entirely by German managers, and has also offered to create a partnership with TKMS, where ThyssenKrupp could even have a majority stake. The new German government also prefers that Atlas Elektronik, the German marine technology company that is being sold by UK defence group BAE Systems, be acquired by a German company. Hopes for French defence and electronics group Thales are therefore looking very slim. US group L3 Communications is reported to have withdrawn its bid for Atlas, leaving the joint bid between German steel group ThyssenKrupp and European aerospace group EADS as the favourite. The German government holds a veto if a foreign company wishes to acquire more than 25 per cent of a defence company. In order to make its bid more attractive to the German government, Thales has promised investment and job guarantees, stating that it plans to develop a world-leading underwater technology supplier in Bremen with Atlas at its core. Thales also says that the company would be run by Germans, with French managers being excluded from certain areas. A decision from BAE on the sale is expected before the end of the year. (Source: FT.com/Abstracted from Suddeutsche Zeitung)

21 Nov 05. Alcatel is reported by a UK press source to be considering the acquisition of Thales, the French electronics and defence technologies group, for GBP5bn (7.4bn euros). However, Alcatel insists that the decision regarding the future of Thales lies with the French state, which holds a 31.3 per cent stake. The French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation holds a 5.7 per cent stake in Thales, Alcatel 9.5 per cent. (Source: FT.com/Abstracted from Les Echos)

Nov 05. Hewlett-Packard Co. reported a 62% drop in fiscal fourth-quarter profit while raising its profit forecast for the current period and fiscal year, in a sign that the computer-and-printer maker is skirting the woes afflicting some of its competitors. Net income included $1.1bn in restructuring-related costs and amortization of intangible assets. The company lowered its revenue forecast for this quarter and for the fiscal year, largely because of the effect of stronger foreign currencies on overall sales. The company announced a restructuring in July that included the eradication of a free-standing enterprise sales group and layoffs that now number 15,300, or more than 10% of its work force, an increase from the 14,500 it had announced previously. Net income fell to $416m, or 14 cents a share, in the three months ended Oct. 31, from $1.09bn, or 37 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The latest result beat the average analyst estimate from Thomson Financial. Sales rose 7.1% to $22.91bn from $21.39bn. Analysts had estimated $22.8bn.

23 Nov 05. Ducommun to Acquire Miltec Corp. for Undisclosed Amount. Ducommun Inc., a maker of electromechanical and structural components for commercial and military aircraft, said Wednesday that it agreed to acquire

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