Geoff Thomas

From what Snecma's chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Bechat says at Le Bourget, it is clear that the French engine builder is on the prowl for potential European marriage partners, rather than a transatlantic tryst.

"Sadly we won't be able to join forces with Rolls-Royce, although in some ways this would be our most obvious partner," he says.

"We have both developed such strong ties - in different directions - with US companies, that it would be impossible to join forces at the moment."

Likely partners Saab and Fiat have been wooed publicly for some time - although nothing firm has yet emerged.


Asked whether there was a French company that could be interested in linking up with Snecma - or even acquiring a majority share-holding - Bechat explains there is no industrial group in the same sector other than Turbomeca, and this is thought to be too small, with sales only one-tenth of Snecma's.

It remains to be seen whether any link will be a business relationship or a take-over/privatisation, to which the French government appears to be nodding approval.

Interestingly, Snecma's equal partner in CFM, the USA's giant General Electric Aircraft Engines, claims never even to have thought about getting a piece of the French action.

GE president and CEO Jim McNerney says: "All I want is the best for Snecma, and I can honestly say that I've never even considered buying into the company, and I don't even know whether we would be asked."

Source: Flight Daily News