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Showing posts from November 14, 2013

Abertis completes acquisition of Hispasat majority stake

Abertis has finally taken a majority stake in Spanish satellite operator Hispasat with the purchase of a further 16.4% of shares for EUR172.5 million (USD231.3 million) from the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), part of the Ministry of Defence.

The deal, confirmed by the company with the Madrid stock market on 12 November following clearance from competition authorities, gives Abertis a 57.05% stake.

Abertis said that in taking "exclusive control", it would now commit itself to developing "the full growth potential" of Hispasat with public and private sector clients.

The Barcelona-based infrastructure group has spent EUR475 million on securing its stake in the operator, having first bought 28.4% of the shares in 2007.

It secured a further 5% stake from European defence conglomerate EADS at the end of 2008 before purchasing the stake of former Spanish national telephone company Telefonica.

Government participation in Hispasat, which launched its fi…

Further delays for modernisation of Russian Air Force Tu-160 bombers

The modernisation of 16 Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack' strategic bombers, which according to the long range plans of the Russian Air Force (VVS) should have been completed in 2017, may be delayed to 2019 or beyond, IHS Jane's has been told by some of the specialists assigned to the project.

At present there is still no finalised configuration as to what Soviet-era components will be replaced on these aircraft. Additionally, the manufacturer of the aircraft's Kuznetsov NK-32 engines is unable to come to an agreement with the United Aero-Engine Building Corporation (ODK) on the question of financing.

A source close to ODK has relayed to IHS Jane's that the current work on the modernisation of the Tu-160 and the re-opening of the production line that would manufacture the necessary components for these aircraft is "at a phase when it is difficult to project a timeframe in which this process would be completed".

The testing of the design and prototype construction w…

CAD images suggest 'strike' version of Shenyang J-31

Key Points
CAD images that have appeared on Chinese websites suggest a strike version of Shenyang's J-31 stealth fighter
The CAD images cannot be verified but would make sense given the PLAAF's lack of interest in the existing J-31 programme

Computer-aided design (CAD) images that have appeared on the Chinese internet indicate that the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) may be considering a larger "strike" version of its J-31 fighter.

It is not possible to confirm whether these CAD images are from a corporate source, such as SAC's 601 Design Institute, or perhaps the work of a student from the associated Shenyang University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which was involved in designing a flying scale model of the J-31 first seen in 2010.

However, it is plausible that SAC would be working on additional variants of the J-31, which is an industry rather than military-funded programme. The lack of People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) support for the existin…

Germany's Problematic Trade Surplus


Although the European Commission, after reviewing the economic developments in 16 EU countries, will likely urge Germany to take steps to reduce its trade surplus, it lacks the political will and tools to pressure Berlin into making changes in the medium term. However, fear of protectionism or the dissolution of the eurozone means that Berlin will likely try to curb its trade surplus eventually, albeit with limited success.

The commission announced Nov. 13 that it will review Germany's external trade position. Germany has been increasingly criticized by Europe and by the United States over its strong trade surplus. Germany is accused of undermining exporters in other countries and not consuming enough domestically to help troubled eurozone countries. But there are few measures to strengthen exporters in struggling countries, and it is doubtful whether a weakening of Germany's exporters and stronger domestic demand would have the desired results for exporters elsewhere, …

East African Infrastructure Development, Part 3: Ethiopian Surface Transport


Editor's Note: This is a four-part series on the development of transport infrastructure in East Africa as the region looks to expand its economy and increase international trade as it becomes a seemingly attractive destination for low-end manufacturing. Part 3 examines Ethiopia's plans to update and expand its rail and road networks to provide better access to ports and to other countries. Read more in Part 1 and Part 2.

While Ethiopia is a relatively large economy in East Africa, it is not as connected to the rest of the region as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries in the Great Lakes region are. The country's surface transport infrastructure is focused on sustaining internal economic activity, and even this has been limited as economic development has been concentrated in the center of the country. However, attempts are underway to better connect Ethiopia to other East African markets and to global export markets. Geography has led landlocked Ethiopia to …