News in brief

Arms sales up

Arms exports were 10% higher in 1997 than the previous year, maintaining Britain’s position as the world’s second largest arms exporter. The UK won arms export deals worth £5.5bn last year. Some 140,000 jobs out of 415,000 in the defence industry as a whole depend on military exports.

Cow buyer

Avon Rubber, maker of polymer components for the automotive, engineering and defence industries, has acquired Cow Polymers, of Croydon, manufacturer of technical rubber mouldings, from Unipoly Industrials for £10.3m. Cow made pre-tax profits of £1m in 1997.

Airbus order

United Airlines has made an order worth up to £850m for 20 Airbus A320 regional jets and 10 smaller A319s. British Aerospace, with a 20% stake in Airbus, could make up to £170m.

Refit over

The refit by Rosyth dockyard of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship Sir Bedivere which was delayed by over 18 months and cost over 50% more than expected should be completed this month.

Single tax

The European Commission last week proposed a directive to tackle duplicate taxation for companies operating in various EU states. It would eliminate taxes at source on payments of interest and royalties between associated firms in different states.

Welded open

The Welding Institute is to open new test facilities for plastics pipes and composites this month in an extension to its Plastics Demonstration Centre in Middlesbrough.

Taylor offloads

Precision inspection equipment firm Taylor Hobson has completed the sale of its Thermography Systems business to fellow Leicester firm Air Reconnaissance.