ATE plans BEE deal

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The aerospace company will sell a significant share in the company.Advanced Technologies & Engineering (ATE), the aerospace company, plans to sell a significant share in the company to a black empowerment (BEE) partner.

ATE deputy-chairman Peter-Paul Ngwenya says he will head up the BEE consortium.

“The current [sole] shareholder of ATE, Aeronautique et Technologies Embarquees, of France, has decided to invite a black investment group to acquire a significant shareholding in its SA operation, in line with BEE legislation.”

“Negotiations are well advanced and an announcement to this effect can be expected soon.

“An employment ownership scheme that will supplement the black economic interests in the company, is also in the planning, for implementation during 2009,” Ngwenya said.

CEO Willie van Biljon said 26% of equity was the norm for such deals, but at ATE it would be “more”. Neither he nor Ngwenya would further elaborate.

ATE designs and manufactures a range of unmanned aerial systems and also has ambitions for the SA space programme. Ngwenya says the company was recently audited by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, two major players in that field, and found ready.

The company is also active in marketing new cockpit avionics and software for the BAE Systems Hawk range of fighter-trainers with the original equipment manufacturers, and have announced a Rooivalk-redesign for the export market under the name New Attack Helicopter.

It is believed a North African customer has a requirement for up to 70 of the rotorcraft and is specifically interested in the ATE design.

The Midrand business also offers Mil 24 “Hind” gunship and Mil 17 “Hip” utility helicopter upgrades, and now also produces unlimited lifetime composite main rotor blades for the type – said to be a world first.



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