Thomson hires FD as Marconi battle nears

French defence electronics giant Thomson CSF has appointed Financial Dynamics to raise its profile among the financial and defence communities in the UK, an account potentially worth over pounds 200,000 in fees.

French defence electronics giant Thomson CSF has appointed

Financial Dynamics to raise its profile among the financial and defence

communities in the UK, an account potentially worth over pounds 200,000

in fees.



This comes as UK conglomerate GEC seeks to spin off its defence

electronics arm, Marconi. Thomson has been named as one of the potential

buyers, alongside British Aerospace. FD would handle PR for any

potential acquisition, which is likely to be hotly contested.



Thomson’s bankers, Credit Suisse First Boston, organised the selection

process last month and chose FD after a non-competitive pitch.



Financial Dynamics is Thomson’s first PR agency in the UK and has been

appointed on an annual retainer. The agency will report directly to

Thomson chairman and chief executive Denis Ranque and FD director Hugh

Morrison will lead the account.



FD chief executive Nick Miles said: ’The brief is to raise Thomson CSF’s

profile among UK audiences. With GEC looking to do a tie-up in France,

the UK or the US, our role is to make sure the defence and investor

communities in the UK understand how international Thomson is and the

opportunities it brings to the defence industry.’



Thomson is quoted on the Paris stock exchange. It counts five business

units which supply systems and equipment to defence companies. These

are: aerospace equipment such as on-board radar, aviation electronics,

communications and command systems, detection and missile systems and

IT.



Its operation in the UK includes a joint venture with GEC Marconi

supplying sonar systems and a defence optics joint venture with glass

giant Pilkington, which supplies periscopes to navies.



The company employs 6,000 UK staff and counts itself as the second

largest supplier of defence electronics to the Ministry of Defence.



In 1997, Thomson registered a pounds 228 million profit on a turnover of

pounds 4.3 billion. Of its turnover, pounds 500 million was generated in

the UK.



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