EADS buys into Fulcrum

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 04 Jun 2007

EADS Defence and Security (EADS) has taken a 25% shareholding in Fulcrum Defence Systems (FDS), one of the three short-listed bidders for Project Legend, the SA Army's R27 million command-and-control system tender.

Although neither EADS nor FDS gave the deal a financial value, industry sources believe it was in the R20 million-range. The investment will see the Pretoria-based company become the local home of EADS' command-and-control (C2) systems expertise.

"This deal is another clear sign of our commitment to be a long-term player in the [South African] defence market... besides previous investments in Reutech Radar Systems (RRS) and Grintek Ewation," says Herv'e Guillou, CEO of EADS defence and communications systems, the 'systems house' of EADS DS.

"We have found the perfect partner, and we are confident that together we will deliver world-class technologies to the African defence market."

"C2 is an important and strategic domain for the South African defence forces and we are confident this local-based joint venture will empower us to be a reliable supplier of high-technology to fulfil the South African defence requirements," says FDS CEO, Andr'e Wolmarans.

Blackstar Holdings chairman George Ramaremisa also gave the deal the thumbs-up. "BlackStar welcomes EADS Defence and Security on board FDS as a partner. We believe that due to this joint venture, FDS will be well-positioned in the strategic market segment of C2," he adds.

The Fulcrum Group retains a 35% share in FDS, while Blackstar holds 40%.

EADS is keen to capture the Legend tender, as it will determine the SA Army's C2 ICT infrastructure for at least the next 10 years. Sources close to the project say EADS is on the shortlist in competition with French-owned African Defence Systems (ADS) and Saab Grintek, partnered with Cybersim. It is not known when the winning tender will be announced.

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