FRENCH ROCKET-engine manufacturer SEP is angling to take over the Messier-Bugatti carbon-brakes business, its sister company within the Snecma group.

SEP president Roger Vignelles says that he wants to take over the brakes business to reinforce non-space business while his company prepares for a fall in revenues from satellite launchers.

Snecma is considering a possible higher offer from US brake manufacturer BFGoodrich for Messier-Bugatti, but Vignelles has called for an independent commission to value Messier-Bugatti. "We have not yet found an accord with Snecma, and we can only move forward if there is an independent evaluation," he says.

The call came as SEP announced a record 1995 sales, which were up by 10% at Fr4.9 billion ($980 million). Vignelles says that profits rose in line, to "around" Fr147 million.

This was largely because of orders for the Ariane 4 launcher, which accounts for 77% of SEP's business and for which it produces the Viking first- and second-stage engines and the HM7B cryogenic third-stage motor.

Launcher revenues are due to drop, however, especially with the changeover to the Ariane 5. Although SEP will produce the Vulcain engine for the new launcher, it will supply only one engine for each Ariane 5 against up to ten for its predecessor.

Source: Flight International