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NEWS IN BRIEF26 Apr 05

EUROPE

26 Apr 05. Denis Ranque presented his strategic options for the future of Thales, the French defence electronics group where he is chairman and chief executive, six months after narrowly escaping a shareholder- backed initiative to force a deal with EADS, the Franco-German aerospace group. Thales directors have been called to an exceptional board meeting where they will consider the options set out by Mr Ranque. These are understood to include a deal with one of Thales’s largest shareholders Alcatel, the French telecoms equipment maker which holds 9.5 per cent of the defence group. Thales has also explored the possibility of merging with Finmeccanica of Italy, which through a series of disposals and acquisitions in recent years has become a leading player in the defence electronics sector. Although the directors will consider the options set out by Mr Ranque, people close to Thales said no decision was imminent.Mr Ranque fiercely resisted attempts last autumn by the government and Thales’s two largest shareholders, Alcatel and Dassault Aviation, to force a rapprochement with EADS. Under the proposed deal, certain Thales assets would have been sold to Alcatel and Dassault. However, the plan stalled when EADS shareholder DaimlerChrysler refused to back a deal. Nevertheless, it became clear as a result of last year’s manoeuvring that the French government, which holds just over 31 per cent of Thales, is not convinced the group has an independent future. But any such deal is likely to irritate Noel Forgeard, the joint chief executive designate of EADS. Mr Forgeard, who is due to move up from his job as head of Airbus to EADS in May, has made no secret of his ambition to take over Thales, in spite of Daimler’s objections. (Source: FT)

26 Apr 05. Chelmsford based, Selenia Communications have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for the creation of their life saving radio – Personal Role Radio (PRR) which are currently being used by the UK armed forces and US Marines, most recently in Iraq. The PRR has also received approval from the head of the British Army General Sir Mike Jackson who has stated that the PRR has saved lives during recent operations in Iraq. The company recentky announced the 100,000th PRR to role off the line. This story is ironic given the tale of woe of its former parent. (See, MARCONI PUTS ITSELF UP FOR SALE?)

26 Apr 05. In Spain, the financial director of Spain’s leading IT firm, Indra, Juan Carlos Baena, has revealed that the Eurofighter defence project will generate some 2bn euros of revenue for the firm. According to Jose Manuel Perez-Pujazon, Indra’s defence manager, the Eurofighter project has to date generated 950m euros for Indra, and will generate a steady revenue of at least 120m euros per year over the next few years. This amount is equivalent to around 10 per cent of Indra’s predicted annual turnover for this year and next. Indra’s
share of some parts of the Eurofighter program is much higher than Spain’s 13 per cent share, such as simulation, where its share is 26 per cent. There are currently plans to build at least 620 Eurofighter aircraft, of which 236 will be delivered between 2007 and 2001 and another 236 between 2011 and 2014. Of these aircraft, 87 will go to the Spanish armed forces. (Source: Abstracted from Expansion)

26 Apr 05. MEADS Win May Be Trigat’s Loss. Germany’s purchase of the Trigat Long Range missile will be delayed until 2007 — if not canceled — thanks to a political compromise intended to win the Green Party’s approval of the Medium-Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), officials said. (Source: Defense News)

27 Apr 05. With the interest group Open Community, a number of leading German technology companies have started a trailblazing initiative that is aimed at paving the way to an open standard for military system architectures. The Bundeswehr and other armed forces stand to benefit greatly from high-performance technical solutions t

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