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The Birth of the First European Space Company


Corporate & other activities

Paris, December 23, 1998

The LAGARDERE and GEC groups which, as of november 1990, had merged their space activities under the structure of MATRA MARCONI SPACE, and which, in 1994, took over the space sector of BRITISH AEROSPACE, have today signed, with their new partners, an agreement which will result in the birth of the first truly European space sector company.

This new company will integrate the space sector activities of MATRA MARCONI SPACE (51% LAGARDERE, 49% GEC), of DAIMLERCHRYSLER AEROSPACE AG and of ALENIA SPAZIO.

This gathering together of the four will be the first concrete manifestation of the stated desire of European Governments to carry through the restructuring of their defence industries.

This new company will begin its life in 1999, after consultations between the partners and the granting of approval by National and European authorities. The current CEO of MMS, Armand CARLIER, will be the first Chairman of the Management Board which will consist of two members appointed by each of the partners.

In a joint statement, Philippe CAMUS, CEO of MATRA HAUTES TECHNOLOGIES, and Peter GERSHON, CEO of MARCONI ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS, stressed the significance of this first major European agreement :

With a presence in the four major European space sector countries, the new company will bring together partners with 30 years’ experience of co-operation, backed by successful earlier alliances and restructurings between Lagardère and GEC, and sharing the same values.

With its industrial capacity, this new company will be the first partner capable of generating projects on a European scale and of representing widely Europe, in world level projects. It will be aiming to capture a major share of the large and growing space-based, earth observation, commercial telecommunications systems market. The new company, with an unrivalled scientific potential in Europe, will play a key leadership role in the conquest of the solar system and the associated programs.

The company will be looking forward to forming strategic alliances and working with all the other European space sector contractors and quality equipment suppliers in the 14 member countries of the European Space Agency.

Finally, economies of scale and the increased effectiveness of its Research and Development tool reflecting the size of the company will give it an improved competitive advantage for all governmental, civil and military programs.”

The new company, which will be one of only two in the world to offer the full range of space sector activities, will cover the fields of :

  • Commercial, navigation, civil and military observation and telecommunications satellites,
  • The corresponding ground-based segments, as well as service and exploitation activities,
  • Scientific satellites and probes,
  • Launch vehicles and orbital infrastructures,
  • Space related equipment and technologies.

Press Contacts :

Jean-Pierre Joulin - Tel. 33 1 40 69 18 04
Roland Sanguinetti - Tel. 33 1 40 69 16 74 - mail :

Alan Tull - Tel. 44 181 420 311

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