EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company, seems set to double or even treble the size of its Systems and Defence Electronics business to make it competitive, its boss said at the show yesterday.

Business chief Stefan Zoller declined to be drawn on the financial details of the business but, asked if the growth plans meant the business would double or treble in size, he says: "I won't say you are wrong."

He says that the business is perhaps the most complex area of EADS to pull together after the firm was created.

"Our business was more scattered than the rest of EADS," he says, explaining why it has taken so long before the first business presentation. "We had five different companies with different legacies come together. At the very beginning we were not in a position to elaborate on a lot of things."

Now that the company has integrated, it is time to expand in order to make it competitive with firms such as Raytheon.

"It is clear that this company compared with our competitors is still by far too small. We have to invest and increase the scope of our activities."

Growth is imperative because EADS remains too dependent on Airbus which accounts for 70% of its business. It needs to balance the civil side with a more powerful defence side. "The main focus for the expected growth of EADS is definitely in the field of systems and defence electronics."

The business is well established in Europe and so is looking to grow in new markets. "There will be more industrial cooperation and we plan to really focus on these activities," he says.

Zoller says he sees Singapore Technologies as a "permanent partner" and has recently acquired a business in Australia. Clearly the business needs to develop its interests in the United States market beyond its current relationship with Northrop Grumman.

He declines to be drawn on reports in Flight International that Northrop Grumman has refused to team up with EADS (or BAE Systems) on the competition for the US Navy's Multi Ð Mission Maritime Aircraft. "We have to do more in the US," he says.

Source: Flight Daily News