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01 Dec 05. The German government has said it will block the sale of Atlas Elektronik, BAE Systems’ German subsidiary, if the UK defence contractor tries to sell the company to Thales, the French group, rather than a lower bidding German consortium. Nonetheless, the sale of the underwater electronics maker was likely “shortly”. It is the first time that the German government has publicly threatened to use a law passed last year that allows it to block on the grounds of national security a foreign investor buying more than 25 per cent of a defence company. Berlin’s stance looks set to raise tensions with London and Paris. German defence officials said both had been lobbying on behalf of BAE and Thales, respectively. This leaves a consortium led by ThyssenKrupp, the German industrial group, as the only viable bidder for Atlas, despite the fact that it appears unwilling to raiseits bid from about €250m (£171m) to match Thales’ offer of €300m. German officials said they were interested in BAE getting a “fair price” for its subsidiary. But the company had to bear in mind that Thales’ bid was “state-subsidised” and that BAE had paid “only around €150m” for Atlas in 2002. BAE had said it wanted to book the proceeds in the fourth quarter, the defence official said. “BAE can’t do that if it tries to sell to Thales and we have to veto.” Germany’s naval shipyards were merged under ThyssenKrupp’s stewardship last year. ThyssenKrupp is bidding for Atlas with EADS, the Franco-German defence company. (Source: FT)

30 Nov 05. Sun Microsystems took another big step towards reinventing itself as an open source software, systems and services company on Wednesday announcing that key software tools will in the future be provided at no cost to developers and others. The California-based company, which began offering customers its Solaris operating as free open source software earlier this year, said it will now provide its Java Enterprise System, Sun N1 Management software, and Sun developer tools available at no cost for both development and deployment. At the same time, Sun said it is integrating all of this software along with the Solaris operating system into the Solaris Enterprise System, to form what it claims is, “the only comprehensive and open infrastructure software platform available today.” The move is part of the a strategy spearheaded by Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s president and chief operating officer, to halt the decline in the company’s revenues and exploit the demand for business customers advanced software and services. (Source: FT)

Nov 05. Hampson Industries, the engineering group, increased its sales by a third in the first six months of the year thanks largely to resurgent demand for civil aircraft. The company is in the middle of a process that it says will double yearly revenues. Late last year, Hampson bought Texstars, a business that makes composites, the advanced carbon fibre material that is rapidly finding favour with Airbus and Boeing, the world’s biggest commercial jet manufacturers.
It is also in the process of buying two other businesses, Coast, which makes composite tools, and Lamsco, which makes laminates. For the six months to September 30, sales were £46m (£34.5m) and pre-tax profit was £877,000 (£401,000). Its shares, which have risen 20 per cent in the past month, fell ¼p to 26p yesterday.

01 Dec 05. Chemring Group PLC (“Chemring”) announces that it has successfully completed its acquisition of Comet GmbH, Pyrotechnik-Apparatebau (“Comet”), having received all necessary regulatory approvals. The acquisition was first announced on 26 July 2005. Comet, based in Bremerhaven, Germany, manufactures and supplies a range of military and marine pyrotechnics. Chemring acquired Comet for a cash consideration of €9.6 million (£6.6 million), subject to an adjustment based on the net assets at completion.

28 Nov 05. British based technology company Torotrak has today reported financial results for the first half

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