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FINMECCANICA MAY BUY ASSETS TO BOLSTER EUROSYTEMS SHARE

14 Feb 03. Finmeccanica SpA is considering buying defense electronic assets to give more weight to its planned electronics joint venture, EUROSYSTEMS with BAE systems PLC , Finmeccanica Chief Executive Roberto Testore said.

Testore said Finmeccanica and BAE were working toward a memorandum of understanding to unite their defense and electronic businesses. Finmeccanica announced in December the joint venture plan but Italy’s Economy Ministry, which controls 32% of Finmeccanica, reportedly expressed doubts that BAE may play too big a role.

“Buying some assets to bring into the joint venture is a possibility,” Testore said on the sidelines of a European aerospace conference.

“Buying some assets to bring into the joint venture is a possibility,” Testore said on the sidelines of a European aerospace conference. Finmeccanica’s search for a strategic partner had split previous management, but the recently appointed Testore and Chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini seem to have found an agreement on the need to push forward with BAE Systems.

With sales of €1.55bn in 2001, Finmeccanica ranks third out of Europe’s four defense groups in terms of size. Without an alliance along the lines of the one planned with BAE Systems, Finmeccanica risks falling into the second tier of defense groups, the company said in a document filed to a parliamentary commission at a hearing in January and reported
in the Italian press.

BATTLESPACE will be running a feature on EUROSYSTEMS this year, see also ‘BAE POSTS WEAKER 2002 EARNINGS DUE TO WRITE OFFS’.

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