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17 May 04. ThyssenKrupp, the German steel conglomerate, has seized control of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, the German submarine maker, after signing an agreement with a US private equity firm. Under the terms of the deal, ThyssenKrupp will pay One Equity Partners (OEP) €240m ($288.6m) for a 75 per cent stake of the new company. The US private equity firm will own the remaining 25 per cent stake of the group which will be merged with Thyssen’s existing shipbuilding operations. ThyssenKrupp said the new group would be a European leader in the construction of conventional submarines and surface naval vessels with a turnover of €2.2bn and a workforce of 9,300. OEP sparked a political row in Germany when it bought 75 per cent of HDW in June 2002 from engineering group Babcock Borsig. The group bought the remaining 25 per cent in September 2002 amid concerns from German politicians that the country’s defence capabilities were being undermined by ownership being moved overseas. HDW has been at the centre of takeover speculation for months after ThyssenKrupp launched a bid last August backed by the German government, which was determined to return the group to German ownership. But the French government was also keen to own HDW and proposed a deal that would have seen Thales, the defence contractor, own a majority stake in the company under a German-French ownership model. Both countries are keen to see a European defence group emerge in the naval defence sector on a par with EADS, the aerospace defence group. (Source: FT)

18 May 04. Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN – News) said that Asian countries, particularly Japan, could become the best new customers for the U.S. defense contractor’s missile systems. Japan’s focus on missile defense could “impact us favorably, as well as Lockheed Martin,” Raytheon Chief Financial Officer Edward Pliner told analysts and investors at the Credit Suisse First Boston aerospace conference in New York. Japan said last December it would buy a U.S.-made missile defense system amid growing fears about North Korea’s nuclear program.Demand for the Patriot missile defense program in particular is likely to grow outside the United States, Pliner said at the conference. (Source: Reuters)

18 May 04. Marconi said on Tuesday it had turned the corner in its battle to recover from a collapse in the telecommunications equipment market as it announced its first quarterly profit in three years. Marconi relisted a year ago today after an 18-month restructuring that saw bondholders and banks forgive £4bn in debts in exchange for cash, new debt and 99.5 per cent of the company. The shares closed 24p higher on Tuesday at 585p for a market capitalisation of £1.17bn – almost double the £590m that the new entity was valued at on its debut. The company reported a pre-tax profit of £11m in the fourth quarter ending March 31 (£240m loss), boosted by a £66m gain on the sale of its North American Access business in February. Losses for the full year were £171m (£1.33bn loss). There was a quarterly operating profit of £8m – the first since 2001. Gross margins in the quarter of 31.5 per cent compared with 24.4 per cent last time. (Source: FT)

14 May 04. General Dynamics Corp (NYSE:GD – News) has extended its £309m ($541m) takeover of Alvis Plc (London:ALV.L – News) until May 27 after receiving a third of the shareholder backing needed so far. General Dynamics has acceptances representing about 17.35 percent of the issued shares in Alvis, a third of the 51 percent needed, it said in a statement on Friday. The U.S. company has targeted European military vehicle makers in a drive that has seen it acquire companies in Austria, Switzerland and Spain.General Dynamics’ offer of 280 pence per share in cash values Alvis at £309m, a deal Alvis’s directors have accepted and recommended to shareholders.

17 May 04. Lucent Technologies on Monday agreed to pay a $25m civil penalty to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that the c

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