European Defense Firms Form Conglomerate

Associated Press

A European aerospace and defense conglomerate designed to compete with U.S. giants Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. was formed in a signing ceremony in Madrid attended by the leaders of France, Germany and Spain. The merger brings together CASA of Spain, Aerospatiale Matra of France and DASA, the aerospace unit of Germany's DaimlerChrysler, as founding members of European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. The deal, which began to take shape in October, creates Europe's biggest aerospace company and the third-largest in the world. EADS is expected to begin operations in the first half of next year, employing 96,000 people and posting sales of about $21.2 billion for the year. That compares with about $65 billion for industry leader Boeing and $27 billion for No. 2 Lockheed Martin. EADS will control 80% of commercial jetliner builder Airbus Industrie; the other 20% is held by British Aerospace.

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