British Aerospace has joined the growing list of household-name companies – including British Steel, British Gas and British Telecom – which have decided their global interests would be better served by not having the word `British’ in their title.
By the end of this month British Aerospace will have a new identity which will not include the word British. A company spokesman would not confirm whether the expected option, BAe Systems, would be chosen.
The change will coincide with the company’s acquisition of the Marconi Electronic Systems defence arm of GEC on 30 November.
`We have always said that we would have a new name once the merger with Marconi was completed,’ a BAe spokesman said.
The logic of keeping BAe in the company name is that it has strong international brand recognition.
The company also said last week that the US government had decided to treat it in future as a US company in defence procurement decisions. The US government also expressed support for more BAe acquisitions in the US.
This suggests the Pentagon has decided to use the expanded BAe to create more competition in a supplier base dominated by US firms Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
John Weston, BAe chief executive, said BAe would have more sales in the US than in the UK once it had completed the Marconi deal. He would not rule out an early link-up with Italy’s Alenia Aerospace, which has a 19% stake in Eurofighter, against BAe’s 37%.