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15 Nov 12. Airship Ventures, operators of the world’s largest passenger airship, the Zeppelin Eureka, announced that despite history making successes and a stellar performance and safety record, they will be ceasing operations immediately. Blending the romance of the “golden age of aviation” with the latest in high-technology, Airship Ventures, founded in 2007, brought a Zeppelin NT (“New Technology”) airship to the USA for flightseeing, science missions, media and advertising operations. Passenger flights began in 2008 in the Bay Area (Silicon Valley, Oakland and San Francisco) and Long Beach, and most recently expanded to California’s beautiful wine country. 2012 saw the addition of behind-the-scenes educational ground tours of the airship. In addition to passenger flights and advertising, the Eureka had performed a wide variety of special missions for government, science and research groups, including recent expansion into airship design, research and development. Since its founding, the company had faced challenges including the economic recession that impacted regular passenger numbers and demanded the need for a regular sponsorship partner for the company to remain viable. Adding to this, a world helium shortage increased the company’s operating costs and pressure for a long-term sponsor that had not materialized. (Source: Yahoo!/Marketwire)

15 Nov 12. BAE Systems has entered into a definitive agreement with American Maritime Holdings, Inc. to acquire Marine Hydraulics International, Inc., a privately held company that operates a shipyard, pier and waterfront facilities in Norfolk, Va., for cash consideration of approximately $69m. Marine Hydraulics International is a marine repair, overhaul and conversion company that had sales of approximately $113m in 2011. The company employs approximately 400 people supporting the US Navy and other maritime customers and would be integrated with the BAE Systems Ship Repair business. The proposed acquisition is conditional, among other things, upon receiving certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013. “This acquisition is fully aligned with our business strategy to continue to grow in the maritime industry by enhancing our efficiencies and breadth of capabilities, which is consistent with our global strategy to deliver value to our customers with cost-effective solutions,” said Bill Clifford, president, BAE Systems Ship Repair. “The proposed addition of MHI’s operations and highly skilled workforce would strengthen our ability to serve both military and commercial customers in the repair, maintenance and modernization sectors of the naval support and upgrade market.”

12 Nov 12. Cobham – missing premium. Whatever happened to Cobham’s premium rating? There was a time – only a few months ago – when the London-listed group traded at a handsome premium (15 per cent historically) to other mid-sized defence and security companies. That was based on its superior margins, strong position in air-to-air refuelling systems and takeover potential. Those fundamentals are intact. But Monday’s 7 per cent fall in its share price has nearly wiped out this year’s outperformance. Cobham’s rating of 9 times next year’s earnings is less than the sector average of 10.5 and rival Meggitt’s 10. (Source: FT.com)

11 Nov 12. Finmeccanica SpA (FNC.MI) chief Giuseppe Orsi reiterated that he would not step down from Europe’s third-biggest defense group but said in a newspaper interview that he favored separating the roles of chairman and chief executive. Orsi, the subject of a high-profile corruption probe that has cast a shadow over his position at the group, told Italian daily Il Messaggero that he had only accepted the dual role at the request of the Italian government, Finmeccanica’s main shareholder. (Source: Reuters)

12 Nov 12. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] announced the acquisition of Chandler/May, Inc., a company that specializes in the design, develop

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