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Military Sales Lift Lockheed Martin Profit To $372 Million

Alcatel, Finmeccanica to announce space operations tie-up Friday
Paris (AFP) Jan 27, 2005 - The French telecom equipment maker Alcatel and Italy's defense and aeronautic group Finmeccanica will formally announce an alliance of their space operations at a joint press conference Friday, Alcatel said here.

The companies signed a preliminary deal for the tie-up in June last year.

The arrangement will see the creation of two jointly owned companies, one for industrial activities and another for services.

Alcatel Alenia Space will group the activities of Alcatel Space, specializing in satellites, and Alenia Spazio, Finmeccanica's space subsidiary. It will be 67 percent controlled by Alcatel and 33 percent by Finmeccanica.

A second company, in which the Italian group will hold 67 percent and Alcatel 33 percent, will group the operations and service activities of Alcatel Space and Telespazio.

Bethesda MD (AFP) Jan 27, 2005
Lockheed Martin said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit rose eight percent from a year ago to 372 million dollars, driven by higher sales of missiles, sensors and satellites.

The top US defense contractor, posted net income amounting to 83 cents a share, ahead of the analyst expectations compiled by Thomson First Call for a profit of 75 cents a share.

Revenue rose 11 percent to 9.965 billion dollars, also ahead of estimates.

The defense giant said revenue from its aerospace division dipped slightly due to a decline in fighter jet sales. Revenue from its electronics unit was boosted by work on tactical missile and air defense programs.

For 2004, the company's profit grew 20 percent to 1.3 billion dollars and revenues were up 12 percent to 35.5 billion.

"We had excellent performance in 2004, resulting from the dedicated efforts of our workforce," said Bob Stevens, president and chief executive.

"We will continue to deliver critical capabilities to our customers and focus on the fundamentals of our business while improving returns on invested capital and deploying cash to enhance shareholder value."

The company indicated that 2005 earnings would fall shy of current expectations as higher pension costs and stock option expenses will offset increased sales volumes and early debt retirement. It expects 2005 earnings of 3.05 to 3.30 dollars a share, below the average analyst estimate compiled by Thomson First Call. Revenue is anticipated to be 36 billion to 37.5 billion dollars, in the range of analysts' forecasts.

BAE To Axe 1,400 Jobs In Britain

In other industry news, British aerospace and defence giant BAE Systems on Thursday announced plans to axe almost 1,400 jobs at 13 sites across Britain, in part due to a declining workload.

"The job losses are part of a previously identified year-planning round to match workload with capacity. It also takes into account anticipated orders," a company spokesman said.

The cuts, to be carried out by the end of 2005, would hit four of the company's businesses, BAE said.

BAE's share price closed 0.20 percent lower at 244 pence, while London's FTSE 100 index gained 0.13 percent at 4,853.4 points.

A total 335 jobs would be cut in Chadderton, near Manchester in northwest England, due to the closure of BAE's defence repairs business, the spokesman said.

BAE said its avionics business, which makes parts for commercial and military aircraft, would cut 430 jobs at four sites: Edinburgh as well as Southampton, Basildon and Luton in southern England.

The land and naval radar business AMS, which BAE runs as a joint venture with an Italian firm, would cut 340 jobs.

The platform solutions business would cut 290 jobs, including 230 at Rochester in southern England and 30 in Edinburgh.

BAE, which employs 45,000 workers at more than 70 sites across Britain, said the jobs would be cut by the end of the year, although some could happen earlier.

Unions, meanwhile, voiced disappointment at the job cuts.

John Wall, spokesman for British manufacturing union Amicus, said Britain must not allow itself to fall from from its position as the world's "second most successful" aerospace country behind the United States.

"What is crucially important is to remain (at number two) and to retain a critical mass and technological capability to be able to compete globally."

On a brighter note for BAE workers, the group was awarded a 158.5-million-pound (229.5-million-euro, 299-million-dollar) contract in December to design and develop a new version of its Hawk trainer jet.

The Ministry of Defence said the funds would see the Hawk 128 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) through its initial development phase, including the delivery of two trial aircraft.

BAE had warned earlier that it might have to lay off an unspecified number of staff had the contract been awarded to a rival foreign contractor.

All rights reserved. � 2004 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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Asia Aviation To Defy Global Trend In 05
Singapore (UPI) Jan 24, 2005
The aviation sector in the Asia Pacific and Middle East region will continue to defy global industry trends in 2005, maintaining high growth and profitability after a record 2004.

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