Finmeccanica confirms disposal plans, gives no detail

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Italian aerospace and defense electronics group Finmeccanica confirmed plans to sell assets worth around 1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) by the end of the year but declined to comment on reports of talks with groups including Siemens of Germany and Japan’s Hitachi.

“As we stated to our investors, we are thinking of disinvesting from non-core businesses and we are working on that. We said we would do some of those within the year and at the end of the year, we will say it,” Chief Executive Giuseppe Orsi told Reuters Insider Television in an interview ahead of the Farnborough Airshow.
“I expect that by the end of the year we will have achieved the sum of the targets we have set.”

The comments were made on Sunday but embargoed until Monday morning, Reuters reports.

State-controlled Finmeccanica, which reported a loss of 2.3 billion euros in 2011, is expected to sell energy and transport units as it focuses on its core aerospace, helicopters and defence technology operations.

Sources close to the matter have said that Siemens is in talks to buy a stake in Ansaldo Energia, while trade union officials have said Japan’s Hitachi (6501.T) is carrying out due diligence for transport unit AnsaldoBreda and possibly listed unit Ansaldo STS.

Orsi declined to comment on any details regarding possible sales.

He said the group should avoid any major impact from the latest round of public sector spending cuts in Italy while increasingly looking to growth markets in countries ranging from Russia to Brazil and China.
“Italy is not relinquishing its position of being an international player in defence systems and we believe that the spending review going on now will not impact dramatically our activities,” he told reporters in a briefing.
“We have programs there that are confirmed and we count on that as a basis for the international market,” he said.

He also said Finmeccanica expected to gain a “significant part” of the 160-billion-pound defence procurement budget set by the British government for the coming decade.



He said the group was “on track” with restructuring plans aimed to improve its earnings before interest, tax and amortization by 440 million euros by 2013.