News in Brief

Costly cab

Manganese Bronze, manufacturer of metal powders, components and London taxis, recorded a fall in pre-tax profits to £5.03m from £8.31m for the year to 31 July. Turnover was up from £101.7m to £114.9m. The company recorded a £2.5m exceptional charge associated with the launch of its new-shape TX1 black cab.

Prime stake

British Aerospace has agreed to pay £77m for the 50% stake in the BAeSema naval systems firm held by Anglo-French software house Sema. BAe is strengthening its position in naval prime contracting, having bought a 49% stake in German naval systems firm STN Atlas and the UK assets of electronics firm Siemens Plessey now BAe Defence Systems.

More Fairey cuts

The fall in semiconductor demand and depressed Asian markets cut first-half operating profits at Fairey from £24.5m to £17.8m. The electronic components group will make more job cuts and reduce manufacturing costs.

Gulf drive tees off

Prime Minister Tony Blair has launched ‘Britain and the Gulf 2000’, a DTI-backed drive to boost sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) six nations. GCC countries spent £7bn on British imports in 1997.

Aircraft savings

A £2.6m research project to change aircraft manufacturing methods was launched by the DTI last week. The civil aircraft research and technology demonstration (Carad) programme will support the three-year ‘low cost manufacturing for advanced metallic structures’ project to cut wasteful machining and improve cost effectiveness.

Treaty signed

Defence secretary George Robertson and his French, German and Italian counterparts last week signed the treaty to create the Occar arms procurement agency.