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07 Dec 06. Three bids are expected for a multibillion-dollar purchase of the aircraft division of defense contractor Raytheon Co., and the deal may be completed by year-end, according to several people close to the negotiations. Washington-based Carlyle Group, Cerberus Capital Management in New York, and a team of Toronto-based Onex Corp. and New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are likely bidders for the planemaker, according to Paul Nisbet, an analyst at JSA Research Inc. in Newport, R.I. Nisbet, who says Raytheon is making the right move with the sale, estimates the company will get roughly $2.5bn for the division. A person involved in the negotiations who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential and ongoing, confirmed the names of the bidders and the timing of the deal. Raytheon announced in July it was considering selling its Wichita, Kan.-based Raytheon Aircraft division to focus on its core defense and technology businesses, said Mac Jeffery, a Raytheon spokesman. The aircraft division to be sold include Beechcraft, which makes single-engine two- and four-seater planes, and Hawker, a maker of mid-size, twin-engine corporate jets that competes with foreign companies including Canada-based Bombardier Aerospace and Brazil-based Embraer. Representatives from the Onex Corp., Carlyle Group and Goldman Sachs either declined to comment or did not return calls.

14 Dec 06. The chief executive of United Technologies Corp. on Wednesday acknowledged troubles at the company’s Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary in Stratford, Conn., and said production would not be back on schedule there until at least mid-2007. CEO George David also said that Carrier Corp., UTC’s biggest division by revenue, would show continued weakness in the fourth quarter and into 2007. “It’s not as easy an end of the year as we would have liked,” he said in a presentation to investment analysts Wednesday night. Fourth-quarter 2006 earnings would nevertheless be $3.68 or $3.69 per share for 2006, within the range forecast by UTC when it disclosed third quarter results in October, he said. The company expects $47bn in revenue for 2006. For 2007, David predicted $51bn in revenue, and earnings per share between $4.05 and $4.20, in line with analysts’ forecasts. Last year, UTC earned $3.16bn, or $3.12 per share, on total revenue of $42.73bn. Sikorsky’s troubles burst into public view shortly after Thanksgiving, when a letter to Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino from a U.S. Department of Defense overseer became public. In the letter, a monitor with the Defense Contract Management Agency stationed in Stratford criticized the company for production delays and said weak management oversight had led to errors “mounting in seriousness.” In his comments Wednesday, David attributed Sikorsky’s problems to a 10-week strike last spring that came as the company was trying to double production volume and reorganize production by relying more on subcontractors. “Sikorsky continues to struggle with its volume challenges,” such as final assembly of some helicopters, he said. David said his successor, UTC President and Chief Operating Officer Louis Chenevert, has become a regular visitor at Sikorsky. “Louis is going to Stratford once a week,” he said. At Carrier, orders will be down significantly in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier, David said, and the company will miss its revenue target by $50m. Also on Wednesday, UTC announced plans to buy back up to 60 million shares, worth $4bn at current prices.

15 Dec 06. Chemring Group PLC announces that it has agreed a conditional sale of its McMurdo marine electronics business to Signature Industries Limited. Following receipt of a cash deposit of £0.25m, £2.8m will be paid in cash at completion and deferred contingent consideration of up to £1.5m will be paid in December 2007. Chemring will retain approximately £1.0m net of trade debtors and creditors relating to the Marine Elect

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