Lagadere is to buy the defence activities of France's Compagnie des Signaux in a move seen as an early response to the French Government's recent decision in favour of the Alcatel-led bid for control of Thomson-CSF.

The purchase adds around Fr600 million ($100 million) to Lagardère's Matra defence-electronics business, including activities in naval systems, electronic warfare and infra-red missile-seeker technology, strengthening the Matra-British Aerospace Dynamics/Daimler-Benz Aerospace LFK alliance.

Lagardère expects to continue buying into European defence-electronics businesses, adding that the deal foreshadows further "global co-operation, particularly in the area of command and control systems". Signaux, which has also sold its transport division to Italy's Ansaldo, is to concentrate on its core telecommunications and electronic-security businesses.

The Thomson-CSF/Alcatel/ Dassault Electronique/Aerospatiale satellites grouping has signed an agreement launching the process under which the "terms of industrial, commercial, technological and financial co-operation" between the four will be settled.

Source: Flight International