Smiths Aerospace (Stand B8, Hall 2B) and Rockwell Collins (Stand B4, Hall 4) will neither confirm nor deny media speculation that they are about to merge.

Jennifer Villarreal, communications manager at Smiths Aerospace, says that recent suggestions in the media are "purely speculative".

"We can't confirm or deny it," she says. "We talk to Rockwell Collins regularly, just as we talk to other aerospace companies. "We have been on the acquisition trail - we make no secret of that - as witnessed by our merger with TI."

A Rockwell Collins representative says that the company does not comment on speculation or rumour about mergers. Rockwell Collins is being spun off from its Rockwell Corporation parent and expects Inland Revenue Service clearance very soon, with the deal to be completed by the end of the month. Under the terms of the divestiture, shareowners of Rockwell are expected to receive shares in the new company one-for-one. Industry analysts suggest that it won't remain independent for too long.

With uncertainty still surrounding the GE/Honeywell merger, the aerospace industry is beginning to look like a chessboard. One merger (or the lack of it) could result in a cascade as businesses merge, disappear and are divested before the process starts again. The likelihood is that many of the shopfronts visible here will be under new management by the time Paris 2003 comes around.

Source: Flight Daily News