LOCKHEED MARTIN chief executive Norman Augustine has played down the extent of likely job cuts following the $9.1 billion acquisition of Loral's defence business. Augustine admits that the acquisition, which was completed on 23 April, may mean some job losses in the short term, but executives within both companies appear to discount the need for heavy restructuring.

Lockheed Martin emerges from this latest acquisition with a workforce of close to 200,000 people and annual sales in the region of $30 billion, putting it into a league of its own in the world aerospace and defence industry.

US anti-trust regulators gave their blessing to the deal after the two corporations agreed to five conditions, including the giving-up of Lockheed Martin's systems-engineering and technical-services contract with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The settlement also establishes certain Chinese walls within the group - for example, preventing the avionics unit from passing on sensitive technical information from airframe customers to the company's own aircraft business.

McDonnell Douglas (MDC) chief executive Harry Stonecipher has threatened to seek alternatives for products built by Loral, now incorporated within its main space and defence rival. Augustine criticises such "black-list" purchasing policies as damaging to the US industry and hopes that MDC will "...reconsider its position".

Source: Flight International