BAe hopeful

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The Independent Online
BRITISH Aerospace is optimistic that Taiwan is about to sign the pounds 120m joint venture deal guaranteeing the future of the RJ 146 regional aircraft and the safety of 3,000 jobs on the assembly line at Woodford, near Manchester.

'We are hopeful we will sign the deal very soon,' said a BAe spokesman after speculation in the stock market last week that the deal was on the verge of collapse sent the company's shares down 15p to 170p.

Under the proposed arrangements, the Taiwan Aerospace Corporation would make a cash injection of around dollars 180m to buy into the future of the 146 aircraft. Without this, BAe would pull out of the regional aircraft market, ending the future development of the RJ 146, an improved version of the 146, of which BAe has sold only about 220.