2006 - 2008 - The new millennium and the U.S. market

The history trail


The Transport sector and Ansaldo STS

Finmeccanica’s focus on its core business does not mean that it paid less attention to the civil sectors, where Finmeccanica implemented a strategy focused on their optimisation. The Transport sector was the first to undergo major changes. In November 2005, Finmeccanica set up Ansaldo STS which would soon incorporate the Signalling activities of Ansaldo Signal and Systems activities of Ansaldo Trasporti Sistemi Ferroviari. Afterwards, 60% of the company was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. In the same period AnsaldoBreda announced the launch of its recovery plan. Despite a full and technologically advanced range of products, and a series of orders won in Italy and abroad, the new group, created four years earlier, had still not reached the necessary competitiveness to support the profitability of the business and this had negative effects on the company’s accounts. This meant that a review was started of all operating and industrial processes, and the reorganisation of the company, a path which was long and hard and which, despite subsequent major successes, like winning the 2010 tender for High Speed in Italy and the presentation in 2015 of Frecciarossa 1000, the high technology train designed for High Speed railway, in collaboration with the Canadian Bombardier, has not, to date, guaranteed a suitable sustainable competitive capacity.

The Energy sector

Ansaldo Energia achieved the major objective in technological autonomy with the termination, again in 2005, of the licence which had been held for some time with Siemens for gas turbines, to move into its own production. Moreover, in 2006 its international presence was strengthened thanks to the acquisitions of the Swiss group ESG (Energy Service Group) and the Dutch group Thomassen Turbine Systems, both involved in the turbine and plant service business. Alongside its traditional products, Ansaldo Energia also decided to focus on alternative energy, from photovoltaic solar and thermodynamic energy to the production of energy from biomass and waste. In the nuclear sector, in particular, 2005 saw the re-establishment of Ansaldo Nucleare which in the years following nuclear abandonment, had become an internal division of Ansaldo Energia (in 1999), maintaining an important core of expertise, people, studies and research into new nuclear technologies, obtaining orders from abroad and collaborating with Universities, Research Centres and foreign businesses to develop third and fourth generation nuclear reactors and actually remaining the only nuclear facility in Italy.

New acquisitions in the Defense Electronics sector

In 2007 the Defence Electronics sector was strengthened by the acquisition of the Italian company Datamat, which became part of the new Elsag Datamat, and the British Vega, whose business would later be integrated into SELEX Sistemi Integrati. A new brand was also created – SELEX Galileo – used by the British SELEX Sensors and the Italian Galileo Avionica to propose a unified offer in the sectors of sensoristics, electro-optics, electronic warfare, and tactical UAVs. In 2008 Finmeccanica became a shareholder of Eurotech, engaged in the research, development, production and marketing of miniaturized computers with high computing capacity, through the purchase of approximately 11% of the capital. Finally, that same year Finmeccanica acquired from BAE Systems the remaining 25% of SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems.

US market and DRS Technologies

After the success of the US101 model, Finmeccanica firmly pursued the objective of achieving an increasingly broader share of the US market. In June 2007, in a team with L-3 and Boeing, Alenia Aeronautica was awarded, with the C-27J model, the tender contract for the modernisation of the fleet of aircraft for the US air force and army transport, as part of the Joint Cargo Aircraft programme. One year later, in September 2008, another success for Alenia Aeronautica in the United States, with the supply to the air force of 18 G.222 tactical transport aircraft for the reshaping of the Afghan National Army Air Corps. Therefore AgustaWestland also launched, in Philadelphia, a new plant dedicated to the assembly of the AW139, one of the leading products on the American market. In October 2008, Finmeccanica acquired DRS Technologies, the US leader in defence electronics and supplier to the Pentagon. The acquisition of DRS was the largest ever made by a European Group in the US defence sector and marked the start of consolidation path for the Group's presence in the US, a market with great potential but traditionally very difficult for overseas competitors. Finmeccanica became one of the most qualified and internationalised global players in defence electronics, with a strong presence on two main markets (UK and USA). To finance the acquisition of DRS, Finmeccanica implemented a complex financial transaction which also forecast a capital increase of around 1.2 billion euros. At the end of the transaction, the public stake in Finmeccanica was further reduced. Now the Italian Ministry of the Economy holds 30.20% of the capital and the remaining part is on the market, split between  public and Italian, and particularly foreign, institutional investors.



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Datamat was founded in Rome in 1971 by three young entrepreneurs, former officials of the Military Navy. The company was at the cutting edge of systems integration and large software projects implementation in Italy, in a period when – in Italy – this approach was still relatively unknown. Initially Datamat’s offer was addressed to the banking and finance sectors, for later diversification into the sectors of defence, space and telecommunications. In the Eighties, seeing the potential for relational database systems, it was the exclusive Oracle distributor of in Italy and was associated with its distribution for around a decade. In the Nineties, it had followed its development path, acquiring stakes in companies with strategic expertise and accumulating new successes linked to the introduction to Italy of technologies for business intelligence and knowledge management. In 2000 it reached the Italian Stock Exchange, with a listing on the New Market, and four years later was included in the TechStar, the segment of excellence for technology companies. Vega plc was a British group listed on the London Stock Exchange and operating in the sectors of Defence, Aerospace, and governance services. It operated primarily as a technological and engineering consultancy company and as a provider of advanced solutions for simulation and training, in particular in the United Kingdom and Germany. The main programmes in which Vega was involved included Eurofighter, Galileo system, NEC (Network Enable Capability) and Watchkeeper.

DRS Technologies came about in Delaware in 1968 at the initiative of two engineers, Leonard Newman and David Gross, to produce acoustic systems for submarine warfare. From then on, it expanded substantially in some sectors of defence electronics, moving its head offices to Parsippany, New Jersey and becoming a medium-sized company, with around 3 billion dollars in revenue, and 10,000 employees in 2007, very competitive and well-positioned in the range of integrated systems for land, air and marine defence, but also for security and support services.

In total, from 2002 to 2008 Finmeccanica made acquisitions with a value of 7.4 billion euros. The acquisitions, together with the organic growth encouraged by the wide range of products, led to a major expansion of the Finmeccanica Group, which went from 7.7 billion euro in revenue in 2002 to 17.2 billion euro in 2012. In that same period the employees went from 45 thousand to 67 thousand.

Main acquisitions from 2002 to 2008
2002 Marconi Mobile   100%
2002 Telespazio   100%
2002 Aeronautica Macchi   66,6%
2003 MMA - Marconi Mobile Access   100%
2003 Avio SpA   30%
2003 OTE   100%
2004 AgustaWestland   50%
EuroSystems Agreement
2005 BAE Systems Avionics   100%
2005 BAE Systems - Military communication division   100%
2005 BAE Systems - ATC and ATM systems division   100%
2005 Gematronik - Meteorological radar systems (Germany)   100%
2005 ASI - Air navigation support (United States)   100%
2007 Datamat   100%
2008 Eurotech   11.1%
2008 Vega Group   100%
2008 DRS Technologies   100%