UAE co's rumoured Textron buy plans worries Israel

UAE-led consortium's US aircraft co bid may expose state's defence secrets - Israeli official.

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By  Neeraj Gangal Published  April 19, 2009

The rumoured buyout of Textron, the world's largest maker of business jets by a UAE-Kuwaiti conglomerate has caused concerns in Israel.

A few days back, the Kuwaiti Al Watan newspaper had said in an unsourced report that a UAE-led consortium is interested in Textron's civil industries and planned to sell off the defence operations to a US company. However, the newspaper did not disclose the consortium members.

Textron's operations have been hit by the global financial crisis but its shares have been climbing on rumours of a takeover, which have largely centred on US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin.

On its part, the New York Stock Exchange said in a statement it had asked Textron to "issue a public statement indicating whether there are any corporate developments which may explain the unusual activity" but that the company said its policy is not to comment on market rumours, Reuters reported. A Textron spokeswoman also declined to comment to Reuters.

The Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper notes that the country's defence establishment has strong ties with companies owned by Textron. These include the Bell Helicopter company that manufactures the Cobra attack helicopter used by Israel and aids Israel's air force in its upkeep and maintenance.

According to Reuters, Textron Inc is a multi-industry company with a global network of aircraft, defence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with solutions and services around the globe. The company operates its business through five operating segments. Four of the company’s operating segments represent its manufacturing businesses: Cessna, Bell, Textron Systems and Industrial. The fifth segment consists of its Finance business.

"This is not simple for Israel. There are many projects that we develop together and if the company is bought, then a lot of classified information will be exposed," The Jerusalem Post quoted one Israeli defence officer, as saying.

While Israel has non-official diplomatic ties with the UAE, officials said it was concerned technological specifications on some of its hardware would be revealed, and possibly even transferred to hostile elements, the daily added.

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