BAe to back bid for Thomson after missile alliance

British Aerospace is set to back a joint bid for the state-owned French defence electronics group Thomson-CSF following the announcement yesterday of a pounds 1bn tie-up with another French group, the missile producer Matra Hachette.

The announcement came on the eve of president Jacques Chirac's state visit to Britain today and marks a further stage in Anglo-French defence co-operation following GEC Marconi's link-up on sonars with Thomson.

BAe is to pool its own missiles division, BAe Dynamics, with those of Matra to create Europe's biggest missile supplier with combined sales of pounds 1bn a year and 6,000 employees. The new grouping will provide a powerful European competitor to US groups such as Lockheed Martin which merged last year.

France's Aerospatiale and DaimlerBenz Aerospace of Germany combined their missile businesses six months ago.

As part of the deal BAe has also agreed to "support" plans by Matra's parent company, Lagadere, to acquire a majority shareholding when Thomson- CSF is privatised.

A BAe spokesman said this could involve financial backing. BAe's interest is in combining some of Thomson-CSF's missile operations into the new Anglo-French joint venture with Matra.

The new company, to be called Matra BAe Dynamics, will be owned 50:50 and will have a British chairman and a French chief executive. It will be registered in France.

BAe is to pay the joint company pounds 50m to pounds 110m over the next four years dependent on the level of orders it captures. The payment reflects the slightly larger size of Matra Hachette which accounts for about 60 per cent of the combined turnover.

BAe's dynamics business is based in Stevenage, Bristol and Lostock near Bolton and employs just under 3,000 people. Matra employs a further 3,000 in France.

The two companies are already teamed on the Casom project - a air-launched cruise missile flying at just under the speed of sound with a range of 250 km - for the Ministry of Defence. The missile is known as the Storm Shadow, and is a variant of Matra's Apache.

Matra and BAe are also partners in the consortium supplying the Future Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, called the Meteor, for the Eurofighter. The Meteor is a ramjet-powered missile, flying at three to four times the speed of sound and able to destroy enemy planes at 50 miles. The contract may be worth up to pounds 900m.

BAe's product range includes the Rapier ground to air missile, the Trigat anti-tank missile and the Asram advanced short-range air-to-air missile being supplied to the MoD. It also makes two naval missiles - the Sea Wolf which is used to arm Royal Navy frigates and the Sea Skua anti-ship missile.

The Matra range includes the Mica family of air-to-air missiles, the Apache air-to-ground missile, the Mistrale surface-to-air missile and the Milas torpedo.

The two companies have been negotiating a merger of their missile businesses for nearly two years and the deal still needs UK and French government and regulatory approval. Provided that is forthcoming it will be the first of the European defence alliances that BAe chief executive Dick Evans has been seeking.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits