News in brief

Power protest

National Power and PowerGen said this week that industry regulator Professor Stephen Littlechild had not paid enough attention to the difficulties of selling or leasing their old coal-fired plants to third parties as an alternative to closure.

Composite giant

Tooling and composites specialist Brookhouse, of Darwen, Lancashire, has acquired SPD Group for an undisclosed sum, creating one of the UK’s largest independent composites manufacturing and assembly operations.

GEC takes Tracor

GEC has acquired US defence electronics corporation Tracor for £800m. Tracor will merge with the US division of GEC Marconi. It will have 17,000 staff and 1997 revenue of £2.3bn.

Gas agreement

Centrica, the UK’s largest gas supplier, has signed a £1.5m agreement with Cap Gemini to provide operational research services over the next three years, requiring an 85-strong team.

£3bn ‘taxi’ contract

A consortium including GKN, France’s Giat and Germany’s Krauss Maffei was this week expected to win a £3bn contract to build a new European armoured personnel carrier or ‘battlefield taxi’.

Strategic study

The Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance has been awarded £1.8m by the Economic and Social Research Council to explore links between training, company strategy and performance.

Satellite sale

Eutelsat’s board has given the go-ahead for the purchase of Europesat-1, a new digital television and multimedia satellite, from Matra Marconi Space.

Theengineer.co.uk

The Engineer’s essential new website, http://www. theengineer.co.uk, is being launched next week.