Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Brunel Memorial Sale

200 years ago this week, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born. This week, this blog's favourite pig-incompetent, corrupt arms manufacturer BAE Systems decided to sell its 20% share of Airbus Industrie, including the Filton plant and design centre just three miles or so from Brunel's Clifton suspension bridge. BAE is apparently trying to make "bolt-on acquisitions" (read=pissant deals that don't change anything but do use up capital that could otherwise be squandered on innovation) in the US, perhaps including Level, not the big internet backbone operator, the firm that makes airport X-ray machines. After all, the US Department of Homeland Security is certain to keep spending at its current clip, right?

The real agenda, though, is pretty clear. Throughout first Dick Evans' tenure and now Mike Turner's, BAE has been frantically liquidating everything it designed indigenously. Regional jets? Shut down, just before Canadair and Embraer made a killing out of the RJ boom. Bizjets? Sold to Raytheon, just before they started going like hot cakes. Concorde? Stop. I'm feeling so snarky today I nearly convinced myself it made money! But the principle holds. Get rid of all that stuff so we can sell the firm to Boeing or Lockheed Martin, and then we'll have monster share options just like Dennis Kozlowski!

Just sack a few more engineers, and we'll make it to "Giant ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David pissing vodka" status...

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