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NEWS IN BRIEF 09 Jul 03.

09 Jul 03. A senior Pentagon aide is recommending that the government block a Singapore technology company’s bid to take over troubled American telecommunications concern Global Crossing Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter. Pentagon review is part of a broad multiagency approval process used when foreign companies express interest in domestic technology and telecom companies. People familiar with the matter said a top aide to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote the memo opposing the transfer based on national-security concerns. Global Crossing also runs a significant part of the UK Government telecom network which it inherited on the purchase of Racal Telecom.

09 Jul 03. In its latest attempt to procure new fighter jets for the country, the Czech government Wednesday said it will borrow as many as 14 different planes to shore up the country’s air defenses. The newest plan calls for various kinds of jets to be loaned by other member states in NATO over the next five years, including the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Financial terms would be worked out as a part of the negotiating process, which would take place on an individual basis with each country. The government has already discussed such a loan with the U.K., Czech officials said Wednesday, according to CTK. The government will also prepare a new tender by the end of 2003 for the eventual purchase of new fighter jets, Minister of Defense Ladislav Sticha told a press conference.

09 Jul 03. Saab disappointed investors with second-quarter results below expectations, but said it remained on track to lift its operating income and margin over the full year. The group disclosed profits after financial items for the quarter of SKr184m ($23m), down from SKr276m a year ago, largely because of SKr110m of restructuring charges. But there was also a fall in sales to SKr4.24bn from SKr4.75bn. During the first half, profit slipped to SKr362m from SKr374m, on sales that were steady at around SKr8.3bn.

09 Jul 03. Cobham, the UK aerospace and defence manufacturer, signalled it remains on the acquisition trail, announcing on Wednesday a £105m ($172m) share issue and two further purchases. Cobham will increase its issued share capital by 9 per cent by placing some 9.2m shares with institutional investors. The placing, which will be managed by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, would strengthen the balance sheet after an eight-month shopping spree worth some £100m. The company said it expected to make further bolt-on acquisitions.

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