Cordant Technologies, the renamed Thiokol, is looking for acquisitions to build up, and expand beyond, its three core businesses. The company, which owns fastener manufacturer Huck and acquired a controlling interest in casting specialist Howmet last year, has changed its name in a bid to create a "global brand", says chairman James Wilson.

Each of the three businesses, which include solid rocket motor manufacturer Thiokol Propulsion, will keep their "strong brand identity" and continue separate operations, Wilson says. Together the three businesses have annual sales of around $2.2 billion. The renamed company will be based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Cordant's 62% stake in Howmet generates some 57% of total sales while Huck, which was acquired in 1991, accounts for 15%. Both businesses have experienced strong growth on the back of booming commercial aircraft sales, Wilson says. Sales by the Thiokol rocket motor business have declined as defence budgets have reduced, but have "bottomed out", he believes, adding that Cordant is projecting "modest" growth this year.

Some of that growth will come from new international programmes, including a 1997 agreement to provide solid fuel strap-on boosters to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for its uprated H-2A satellite launch vehicle. Thiokol's Castor IVB solid rocket motor, meanwhile, has been selected as the first stage of Spain's new Capricornio launcher.

The company acquired majority control of investment casting specialist Howmet in 1997, boosting both its international business and commercial base. Cordant has a two-year option, valid from December 1999, to buy the 23% of Howmet that is owned by the Carlyle Group, Wilson says. The remaining 15% is publicly traded.

Wilson says that Cordant is looking for acquisitions that will expand its core operations. Any acquisitions outside the core businesses will involve "-technologies and products somewhat related to what we do", he adds.

Source: Flight International