British Aerospace this week refused to comment on news that it is looking at taking a stake in South African defence firm Denel’s aerospace division.
Last week, BAe’s South African spokesman apparently confirmed that the company was interested in a Denel stake. His comments followed a South African government statement that it would start looking for an equity partner in Denel’s aerospace division by the middle of 1999.
Stella Sigcau, South African public enterprise minister, has asked consultant Booz Allen to audit Denel’s aerospace division in preparation for privatisation.
Denel manufactures the Rooivalk attack helicopter and it will also make parts for Hawk jet trainers, which it will assemble under last month’s £1.5 2bn South African defence deal with the UK.
BAe’s stake in Denel aerospace could be 30% to 51%, building up its international portfolio, which includes a 35% stake in Sweden’s Saab. The Saab Gripen was chosen as South Africa’s new fighter two weeks ago.