Orsi has promised to raise 1 billion euros from asset sales by the end of 2012, to keep the group’s investment grade credit ratings. The group has singled out as non core its energy and transportation assets, which include AnsaldoEnergia, AnsaldoBreda and possibly Ansaldo STS. It is also consolidating its defense electronic units.
The European defense executive, who declined to be named, said only a few groups in Europe were in a good enough shape to ensure they would have a front seat at any merger talks in the industry, while Finmeccanica, despite having a global presence, needed to catch up quickly.
He mentioned Thales, Dassault and Safran of France, as well as Britain’s Rolls-Royce and Germany’s Rheinmetall as possible candidates.
“Thales started three years ago with restructuring and it is now trying to recoup profitability. Dassault produces dividends but relies almost entirely on the French budget,” he said.
Safran, he said, had the advantage of being in the booming civil aeronautics engine business, Rolls-Royce was very strong and Rheinmetall relatively strong, while Finmeccanica must catch up quickly.
Shares in Finmeccanica rose percent almost 5 percent to reach a five-month high on Sept. 12 when EADS and BAE unveiled their plans for a merger. Since then the stock has been volatile, tracking the sector as the market pondered the plan.
At 0121 GMT on Sept. 21, the stock was 1.5 percent higher at 3.79 euros, giving Finmeccanica a market value of about 2.2 billion euros.