Gilbert Sedbon/PARIS Kevin O'Toole/LONDON

CASH-STRAPPED Snecma is understood to be preparing to renegotiate its position on the General Electric GE90, to avoid further heavy spending on developing higher-thrust versions.

Snecma, which is a 25.5% revenue-sharing partner on the GE90, has not denied reports that it is looking to reduce spending on the programme, but declines to comment on the likely outcome of any discussions.

GE will only confirm that Snecma continues to be a revenue-sharing participant in the GE90.

First tests on the 410kN (92,000lb)-thrust GE90B, which will power the B-Market version of the Boeing 777, are due to start "within a matter of days" at Peebles, Ohio, test centre. The GE90B should be ready for certification early in 1996.

GE says that around 80% of the certification requirements for the engine have already been met during testing of the initial GE90.

Two future growth versions are expected to take thrusts up to around 430kN and 470kN respectively, although these have yet to be launched.

Although Snecma recently received Fr2 billion ($407 million) credit from its owner, the French Government, the group remains short of funds and is expected to concentrate resources on new-engine launches from the CFM International joint venture with GE. Current plans are to develop the 190kN CFMXX to power a stretched Airbus A340.

Under new chairman Bernard Dufour, Snecma has embarked on a savage restructuring drive to cut costs and strip the group back to its core aircraft-engines business.

The extent of Snecma's financial problems was again underlined on 12 October, as the group revealed losses topping Fr500 million over the first half of the year.

Rocket-motor builder Societe Europeenne de Propulsion (SEP) is the latest of the group's many subsidiaries to be put up for sale. Snecma wants to sell its interest in the company to Aerospatiale.

Dufour is still waiting for Government approval over a proposed merger of the group's Messier-Bugatti aircraft-brakes business with BFGoodrich in the USA.

As part of the cost-cutting drive, which will cause 500 job losses by the end of 1995, Dufour plans to move the group's headquarters to the main production site at Melun-Villaroche.

Source: Flight International