NEC and Toshiba are to fold their space businesses into a new joint venture company with the aim of securing more Japanese Government contracts and boosting their competitiveness in international markets.

The as yet unnamed company is to be officially unveiled next month, after which NEC and Toshiba will start the merger.

The joint venture will be 60%-owned by NEC, with Toshiba holding the balance, and will receive initial capital of ¥7 billion ($58 million). Its activities will range from "consultation" on space products and systems to the "planning, design, manufacture, integration and testing, sales, operation and servicing of satellites, manned space stations and ground systems", say the manufacturers.

The new company is targeting annual sales of ¥100 billion five years after launch.

A primary driver behind the tie-up is Japan's space budget, which is not expected to increase for several years.

"The government is the main source of orders, and little commercial growth is anticipated," say the partners.

Source: Flight International