by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) March 18, 2016
The Airbus Group will sell its Defence Electronics business to US investors KKR for 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), a deal which will be finalised over the next year, the European aeronautics giant announced Friday.
"This is a significant step forward in the portfolio reorganisation announced by the Airbus Defence and Space Division in September 2014," Airbus said in a statement.
The group will retain a minority stake "to ensure a smooth and seamless transition".
Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: "This is an excellent outcome for our Orlando process which aimed at repositioning Defence Electronics for the future with an excellent outcome for all stakeholders.
"Defence Electronics is a strong, profitable business with significant growth potential and we are convinced that KKR and the Defence Electronics management team and employees will continue to strongly develop the business," he said.
Johannes Huth, head of KKR Europe, Middle East and Africa, said KKR "will support the growth and development of the company with its financial resources, international network, long-standing expertise in the global industrial sector and its extensive experience."
Based in Ulm, Germany, Airbus's defence electronics arm has around 4,000 employees worldwide. Its work is mainly in combat avionics, optronics and sensors.
Airbus wants its strategy in the military sector to focus on planes and missiles.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, Airbus said.
Finland sells shares of Patria Group to Kongsberg
The sale, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, Finnish Radio News reported. The remaining 51.1 percent of Patria will be owned by the Finnish government.
"We are very pleased with Kongsberg's commitment to Patria," Finnish Prime Minister Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said. Kongsberg "is a financially-strong, listed firm which is half-owned by the Norwegian state."
Sipilä said the sale would also improve Patria's position in international markets.
Finland bought the French firm Airbus' shares of Patria about a year ago and has been looking for a new minority shareholder since.
"Patria is Finland's leading defense supplier and owns 50 percent of the shares in the Norwegian company Nammo," Kongsberg said in a news release. "The partnership will be a leading defense supplier in the Nordics, and a considerable supplier on the European defense market ... "
Added Walter Qvam, Kongsberg's chief executive officer: "We're taking a proactive step to meet the ongoing consolidation in the defense industry. This transaction entails a significant strengthening of our Nordic and international position, it provides strengthened profitability and growth opportunities, and is an important step in the strategy for our defense businesses."
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