Finmeccanica Plans Sell-off of DRS Technologies Assets

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Three years after acquiring U.S. defense electronics firm DRS Technologies, Italy’s Finmeccanica group is planning a selective sell-off of DRS assets that could produce up to $800 million in revenue, managers said March 3.

The sell-off of units operated by DRS, which saw $4 billion in revenue last year, would form part of a move away from “non-core” DRS activities as well as help cut debt at Finmeccanica, Chief Financial Officer Alessandro Pansa told financial analysts in a meeting in London.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales also will be plowed back into new acquisitions for DRS, some of which could be outside the U.S., said Finmeccanica CEO Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini.

“If DRS can be more present outside the U.S., it will give the possibility to increase revenue,” he said at the meeting.

Guarguaglini has previously said that DRS could benefit from expanding outside the U.S. market, guided by the global know-how of its parent company, Finmeccanica.

Without naming which units might be sold, Finmeccanica said it would seek to divest activities operating in “noncore segments for the group, markets with limited growth opportunities in the near future and markets where DRS lacks scale.”

He said, “We are currently initiating the process to implement this portfolio optimization by 2011.”

Guarguaglini said prospective buyers have already shown interest.

DRS’ workload in 2010 included infrared viewers for driver vision enhancement systems for land vehicles, upgrade programs on the target acquisition subsystems of Bradley combat vehicles, repairs and spare parts for mission management systems for helicopters, satellite communication services, high-resistance computers, and displays for vehicles and electricity generation systems.