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GEC links up to form new space group.

GEC yesterday announced twin deals with top European businesses to create world-leading companies in the missile and satellite industries.

The deals mark the latest step in the long-running consolidation of the European defence and aerospace industries, aimed at creating European giants to rival America's top defence groups.

In the defence field GEC announced a 50-50 joint venture with Italian defence engineering group Finmeccanica in the missiles, radar and air traffic control industry.

The joint venture, to be called Alenia Marconi, will be one of the three leading ground and naval radar suppliers in the world and will form the major supplier of missile systems outside the United States.

The company will have a turnover of around pounds 1 billion.

In the space sector GEC has joined France's Lagadere, Germany's Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace (Dasa) and again Italy's Finmeccanica.

GEC is already part-owner of Matra Marconi Space, a joint venture with French firm Lagardere.

Under the latest new deal, Matra Marconi Space will merge its activities with the space industry business of Dasa and Finmeccanica's space division Alenia Spazio.

The new company, with turnover of pounds 1.8 billion, will be set up in 1999 and will be subject to approval by authorities in each of the countries involved as well as from the European Union.

A spokesman for GEC said the new space group would have a "comprehensive capability" in making satellites for observation and telecommunications.

The group's main competition will be the US aerospace group Lockheed Martin.

GEC has not revealed details of how it will separate its defence operations from its communications and industrial electronics business, but an announcement on future plans is expected to be imminent.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 24, 1998
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