A Lancashire MP has vowed to fight for the future of 11,500 defence jobs at a jet-building factory in the county.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies, whose constituency includes BAE Systems’ factory at Warton, near Preston, said he had contacted the company to clarify the impact of a proposed merger between the company and rival, EADS.
The company made an announcement to the stock exchange on Wednesday night confirming it is in talks around a move which would create the biggest defence and aerospace group in the country.
On Wednesday, a BAE spokesman said it was “too early” to assess the potential impact on jobs, adding there was “very little overlap” between the two firms.
Mr Menzies said: “Warton is the headquarters of BAE Systems military air solutions and my overwhelming priority is to ensure that their future is not compromised by this potential merger.
“I will be looking to work closely with the company and unions in the coming days, weeks and months to ensure that, if this merger goes ahead, Warton remains the heart of the military air solutions division of the company.”
The company’s share price rose nearly 11% on the news closing at £3.63 per share after trading on Wednesday.
BAE said the proposed deal would be a merger, but would see BAE shareholders own 40% of the combined group and EADS shareholders own 60%.
The two groups are working on plans to create a combined firm that would retain its dual listing.
A BAE spokesman said: “BAE Systems and EADS have a long history of collaboration and are currently partners in a number of important projects, including the Eurofighter.”
The firm added: “The potential combination would create a world class international aerospace, defence and security group with substantial centres of manufacturing and technology excellence in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA.”
BAE said that the firms were in talks with governments worldwide about the implications of such a deal, given the sensitive and secure nature of their work.
Under City takeover rules, both firms have until 5pm on October 10 to announce a deal or walk away.
BAE is an expert in the field of defence, security and military, whereas the majority of EADS’s work is in the commercial sector. EADS is based in Paris and Berlin.
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