French communications group Alcatel has finalised the merger of its space unit with the satellite division of Italian state holding company Finmeccanica to create the largest European space company.
The memorandum of understanding to combine the businesses comes after six months of talks (Flight International, 9-16 December 2003). The new joint venture will be managed through two companies, Alcatel Alenia Space, which will be 67% owned by Alcatel, with Finmeccanica holding the remaining one-third share; and an as-yet unnamed satellite service company merging Telespazio and Alcatel Space's operations and services activities, which will be 67% owned by Finmeccanica and 33% by Alcatel. Alcatel Alenia Space will be based in France and divided into five divisions: telecommunications; optical observation and science; observation systems and radar; navigation; and infrastructure and transport. With forecast sales in 2004 of €1.8 billion ($2.16 billion) this year, the combined entity will become Europe's largest space company.
JUSTIN WASTNAGE / LONDON
Source: Flight International