Elbit Systems has a $200 million acquisition war chest following its failure to buy a stake in rival Israeli defence contractor Elisra and has recruited an investment bank to help identify potential targets in the USA (Flight International, 18-24 June).

"We are actively pursuing acquisitions in the USA," says president and chief executive Joseph Ackerman. "We are going to expand worldwide and become a key player in the fields in which we are active."

Elbit, which already owns four businesses in the USA and derives 70% of its $765 million turnover from overseas, was thwarted in its attempt to buy into Elisra by state-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries' (IAI) subsidiary Elta. Elta's acquisition of up to 38% of Elisra has been approved by the Israeli government, but is still to be passed by the country's competition authorities.

According to the agreement, Elta will purchase 30% of the Elisra group, valued at $330 million, with an option to acquire a further 8%. The deal would combine Israel's two major electronic warfare (EW) systems manufacturers with the Elisra Group, which includes Tadiran Systems, BVR and Spectralink. "The agreement is aimed at creating an EW house that will be positioned among the five leading suppliers in the world," IAI says. The two companies are already preparing joint bids in forthcoming EW contests in Asia.

Israeli company Nice Systems is acquiring the assets of Thales Contact Solutions (TCS), formerly Racal Recorders, in a deal that will give Thales its first stake in an Israeli company. Nice will acquire TCS from Thales in exchange for $55 million and 14% of its stock. TCS, which last year had a turnover of $70 million, manufactures digital voice and video recorders for air traffic control centres.

Source: Flight International