Finmeccanica sets sights overseas

Finmeccanica is setting its sights on the Middle Eastern and Asian markets as it seeks to grow its international sales. Chief executive Pier Francesco Guarguaglini is hopeful of success in Turkey with the Eurofighter Typhoon. Should the company be successful in this market, Guarguaglini says, "we are ready to involve Turkish industry…we presume we have a good chance". Finmeccanica, which posted profits of €11.5 billion ($14.6 billion) in 2005, is targeting the Middle East and Far East as potential markets for the AgustaWestland Future Lynx as the balance of its worldwide sales shifts. By 2008, the company expects just 38% of a projected order total of €16 billion to come from its domestic market, compared with 57% in 2005.

Aerospace Valley focuses on research

Aerospace Valley, the aerospace "cluster" of the Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine regions in south-west France, is planning to focus on formalising its schedule of research projects and their funding programme as it enters its second year as an officially recognised "centre of excellence" for aeronautics, space and on-board systems. Airbus France president Jean-Marc Thomas, who is also president of Aerospace Valley, says priorities for the project's second year will be "to implement a regular process to introduce new research projects and obtain funding at a regional, national and European level". The initiative will also focus on promoting the INRIA ICT skills centre at Bordeaux, the Pamela aircraft dismantling project in Tarbes and Aerospace Campus in Toulouse.

Avio ownership to be resolved this year

Italian engine manufacturer Avio is likely to change hands before the end of the year, either through an initial public offering (IPO) or direct sale, according to chief executive Saverio Strati. "I believe we are not far from a decision," he says, adding that the company, which is currently 70% owned by the Carlyle Group and 30% by Finmeccanica, has seen some interest from financial investors. "The best for us is a solution that would permit the management to run the company with the same rationale and strategy that we've had until now," Strati adds.

Québec invests in CMC expansion

The government of Quebec is helping to fund an expansion plan by Montreal-based CMC Electronics, as part of its long-term strategy for the industry. The government is providing $2.5 million of funding to help CMC invest in upgrading its Ville St-Laurent plant in a $20.3 million project that will create 165 jobs. Raymond Bachand, minister of economic development, innovation and export trade, says the project "will help CMC expand and get a bigger market share".

DRS targets Europe from UK base

USA-based DRS Technologies is forming a new UK facility as part of its drive to increase the proportion of its business from overseas markets. The company plans to use DRS UK, formerly known as DRS Tactical Systems, as a "springboard" for other European markets, says president and chief executive Mark Newman. The company is planning to grow its overseas business from its current level of 8% of its $2.9 billion annual revenues to 20% within five years.

Source: Flight International