BAE pulls sale of US business

A division of BAE Systems which makes cockpit displays for fighter jets and digital engine controls for commercial aircraft has been taken off the market after its owner failed to agree a sale.

A division of BAE Systems which makes cockpit displays for fighter jets and digital engine controls for commercial aircraft has been taken off the market after its owner failed to agree a sale.

BAE Systems said there had been plenty of interest in its Platform Solutions business, which it put up for sale in September amid speculation that the operation could be worth as much as £1.3bn (€1.6bn).

However, BAE said no sale had been agreed and that it now wanted to end the period of uncertainty by withdrawing the business from sale.

Platform Solutions, which is largely based in North America and has a global workforce of around 4,200 people, is also a leading producer of components for low-emission hybrid buses.

The move to offload the business, which is not a core part of the group, came as BAE prepared itself for Government cuts to the defence budget. It was also thought that chief executive Ian King wanted to build a war chest for acquisitions ahead of an expected consolidation of the American defence sector.

Potential buyers are thought to have included industrial groups such as Rockwell Collins and Woodward Governor, as well as private equity firms, including Warburg Pincus and Carlyle Group.

The Platform Solutions business, which is part of BAE’s Electronic Intelligence and Support division, operates from a number of sites in the United States, although there is also a site in Rochester, Kent, England.

It generated annual earnings of $202m (€156m), before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, in 2009.

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