March 11, 2014 By Carola Hoyos, Defence Correspondent – Ft.com
It took three years of negotiations, and a meeting between a president and a prime minister, for Antoine Bouvier finally to begin to run his company like a normal chief executive.
On January 31 at a Royal Air Force base in Oxfordshire, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande agreed to fund jointly an attack helicopter missile made by MBDA, Europe’s biggest missile maker with a turnover of around €3bn.
Up until now Mr Bouvier has had to put up with the competing demands, secrecy and political U-turns of MBDA’s biggest customers, the governments of France, Britain, Italy and Germany. They have now accepted that, for missile technology, they have to “share it or, lose it”, Mr Bouvier says, detailing changes he will announce to investors on March 19.
Following the January summit, MBDA – owned by pan-European Airbus, BAE Systems of the UK and Italy’s Finmeccanica – can inch closer towards building the missile the way BMW builds a car, or Philips a razor.
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