General Dynamics hires GA to advise on UK deal

US arms firm General Dynamics has drafted in Gavin Anderson to advise on its £309m agreed offer for UK rival Alvis.

Gavin Anderson managing director Liz Morely and CEO Neil Bennett are advising the US maker of the Abrams tank on what is thought to be the largest ever bid for a UK defence contractor by a US rival.

Smithfield is advising Alvis, which is best known for the Challenger 2 tank used by the British Army.

The fate of the landmark deal was still hanging in the balance this week after BAE Systems, the UK’s leading defence contractor, and 29 per cent stakeholder in Alvis, said it was ‘reviewing its position’.

Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial is retained adviser to BAE. Although BAE’s stake puts it in a position to mount a counter bid to the General Dynamics deal, such a move has been described as unlikely.

The two companies plan to complete the deal in the second half of 2004 under a plan that will see Alvis’s 2,800 workers become part of General Dynamics’ combat systems group.

General Dynamics, which is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs 67,600 people worldwide. In 2003 the company had revenues of £9.2bn.

As well as land and amphibious combat systems General Dynamics is also involved in shipbuilding and marine systems, and business aviation.

General Dynamics head of combat systems Art Veitch has hinted that the deal could lead to an exchange in technology between the US and the UK. Both countries are planning digitalised combat systems for their armies.

In 2003, Alvis had a turnover of £163.6m with a profit before tax of £8.8m.

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