BAE Systems in merger talks

BAE Systems, one of the most important businesses operating within Lancashire, has taken the first steps in merging with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), in a bid to create a world class international group.

EADS is the company which owns Airbus, which manufactures the A320 short-haul jets and the double-decker A380 superjumbo. It also owns Eurocopter, is part of the Eurofighter programme and owns the space satellites business Astrium.

A BAE statement said: “BAE Systems and EADS have a long history of collaboration and are currently partners in a number of important projects, including the Eurofighter and MBDA joint ventures.

“The potential combination would create a world class international aerospace, defence and security group with substantial centres of manufacturing and technology excellence in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA.

“BAE Systems and EADS believe the potential combination of their two businesses offers the prospect of significant benefits for customers and shareholders of both companies.”

EADS has more than 133,000 employees in 170 locations around the world and BAE has more than 93,000 employees. BAE has major bases in Warton and Samlesbury and employs 11,000 in the region.

Mergers of this size will always attract scrutiny from regulators, and the deal is expected to be subject to government restrictions. The two companies agreed that there are no certainties the merger will come to fruition.