STEWART PENNEY / LONDON
The future of the Eurofighter marketing arm, Eurofighter International, is uncertain as the formation of EADS and EMAC significantly shifts the ownership of the four-nation consortium.
Eurofighter International was created in November 1999 as a single organisation representing the marketing efforts of the then four Eurofighter shareholders: Alenia, British Aerospace, Casa and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa).
The partner companies were expected to begin sales campaigns with Eurofighter International finalising a contract once an advanced stage had been reached.
Subsequently Casa and Dasa have become part of EADS, which is soon to form EMAC with Alenia. EMAC will have a 67% holding in Eurofighter as well as the marketing organisation. BAE Systems, EADS and Eurofighter sources say the future of Eurofighter International is being reviewed, but with no final decision date.
An EADS official says: "Once there are only two partners in Eurofighter, Eurofighter International needs to be sorted out. We must reduce redundancy [between Eurofighter and the partner companies] and this will be done once EMAC is formed." Each of the four original partner companies was given specific sales areas, with Alenia leading in Brazil, BAE in Singapore, EADS Germany in Greece, and EADS Spain fronting the campaign in South Korea.
It is understood that the partners have been reluctant to allow Eurofighter International to participate in campaigns. A Eurofighter source notes that export sales are a high priority and have typically been handled by senior board executives, "and it is not realistic to expect these people to sit back and hand over their deals".
Eurofighter International has also been starved of personnel, say the sources, suggesting the partners are reluctant to release their campaign staff. Another related issue appears to be the cost of supporting Eurofighter International.
One solution is that Eurofighter International may revert to a sales support organisation, dropping its campaigns and contracts/finance elements.
Source: Flight International