Italy's aerospace giant Finmeccanica and French electronics and systems provider Thales have established what they are calling the New Space Alliance, following the 4 April European Commission approval of the transfer to Thales of satellite manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent’s shareholdings in the two space sector joint venture companies Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio.

With a straight share exchange Thales takes Alcatel's 67% stake in Alcatel Alenia Space, renaming the company Thales Alenia Space, and its 33% share in Telespazio, whose name remains the same. Finmeccanica's 33% share in Thales Alenia Space and 67% share in Telespazio are unchanged.

Under the new deal Pascale Sourisse remains president and chief executive of the renamed Thales Alenia Space and will join Thales' Executive Committee. Telespazio's president and chief Giuseppe Veredice also stays in place.

In a joint statement Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Finmeccanica's chairman and chief executive, and Thales' chairman and chief executive Denis Ranque have said, "This agreement is now finalised, making the New Space Alliance, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, between Finmeccanica and Thales a reality. The association of our companies in the space business will further enhance our leadership in satellite-based technologies and services."