ROCKWELL SYSTEMS Australia has been named as the Australian Government's preferred bidder to buy loss-making Aerospace Technologies of Australia (ASTA).

Industry sources believe that the final price for the state-owned manufacturing operation could be as low as A$20 million ($15 million).

Rockwell, which has a presence on several of the country's major defence programmes, is negotiating to take on ASTA's core businesses in components, defence and engineering.

Other non-core parts of the group have been excluded from the sale apparently because of a lack of an interested bidder. The Government says that a "separate strategy" is being adopted for these.

ASTA's latest published financial figures for 1993/4 show that the group made a loss of nearly A$60 million on sales of less than $159 million.

Source: Flight International