SNECMA CHAIRMAN Bernard Dufour says that he has been given clearance by the French authorities to go ahead with the disposal of the Messier-Bugatti brakes business, but has been asked to explore the possibilities of finding a French buyer.

Snecma has been in negotiations with BFGoodrich over a merger for the brakes business, but a potential deal was held up pending approval from the French Government. Fears are understood to have been raised over maintaining French defence capabilities.

Dufour says that he has now been given "great freedom" over the sale and predicts that a deal could be in place within the next few months.

He adds that the group is pursuing interest from other potential buyers, however.

Snecma is likely to make losses of more than Fr1 billion ($200 million) this year in the face of another 15% drop in sales. Dufour estimates that the company will struggle to reach break-even with sales of less than Fr1 million per employee. The current ratio stands at only Fr800,000.

The equation should be improved by the loss of 500 jobs this year from the 11,000-strong workforce, with another 800 scheduled to go in 1996. Dufour also estimates that sales should begin to stabilise by then.

Source: Flight International