Saab Exec Says Sale Is Not The Only Option
[12-17-07 – Satellite News] Saab, the Swedish industrial company, is likely to exit the space industry early next year. The company, which less than two years ago acquired Ericsson‘s 40 percent share in the then Saab Ericsson Space at a cost of SEK 3.8 billion ($589.75 million) with the view to becoming more of a force in the industry is now on the verge of exiting the industry all together.
Erik Löwenadler, executice vice president of Saab, told Satellite News the reasons behind Saab’s Dec. 11 announcement that the company was evaluating the possible sale of Saab Space. “We have a clear view that there is some kind of need for structured consolidation in the space industry in Europe,” he said. “We are still looking at different opportunities to join forces with someone, or as we have suggested, to sell our space activities to someone who could take care of structuring these activities. We have also looked into the possibilities of buying someone. But, presently, we are looking into the possibility of selling our assets. We think there is a need to do something within the European space industry.”
However, while a sale is most likely at this stage, Löwenadler said the company had not ruled out other options all together. “I would not say the co-operation option is dead. We still have that option on the table. Right, now we are focusing on the divestment issue. We have nothing against the space industry. But, we have not really seen synergies with our core businesses in defense and civil security. Space activities in itself with satellite surveillance is of course related to security and society, but what we are doing within our activities is directed towards on board computers and converters (convergence) as well as separation systems, and there we have not been able to take out those synergies with the rest of Saab.”
Saab Space is an international, independent supplier of space equipment. The company’s main products are computers, microwave electronics and antennas for spacecraft, and adapters and separation systems for launchers.
Löwenadler said that though sales in the space division decreased in the first nine months of 2007, Saab views the space division as quite stable. “It is a profitable business. We have been discussing a sale for quite some time. We know that there are others in the European space industry with similar views. Therefore, we think there is a possibility we find a buyer. We are in contact with a number of potential candidates, but we are not in deeper discussions right now. These are mainly European companies, but it is not limited to Europe.”
However, while a sale is likely, the company is not in a rush to do the deal. “I would say that we think we have the possibility to conclude a sale early next year. But, it is a good company. We are not in a hurry to do anything,” noted Löwenadler.