Airbus is continuing its ongoing-process of divestment in companies it considers no longer core to its aerospace and defence work. After divesting in 2016 the remainder of its holding in French commercial and military aerospace firm Dassault Aviation and selling the same year its defence electronics business to KKR, Airbus Defence and Space has last week entered into an agreement to sell its 49 percent share in Atlas Elektronik Group to thyssenkrupp AG.

With this acquisition, Thyssenkrupp, which to date has held a 51 percent share in the company, will become the sole owner of Atlas Elektronik. This will lead to strengthen Germany’s offer on the export market for submarines. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), a Thyssenkrupp subsidiary, is indeed involved in the military shipbuilding. Atlas Elektronik equips German and foreign vessels with sonar systems, torpedoes, etc.

Both parties have agreed to be silent about the purchase price. But the operation should be between €100 to €200 million. Indeed, we should note that in 2006 the consortium Airbus-TKMS bought Atlas Elektronik from BAE Systems for €145 million in cash plus the pension fund of the company which all in all brought the deal to €217,4 million at the time.

The SSK Submarine market

Currently, TKMS is facing strong competition from French naval contractor DCNS, which has recently succeeded in the A$50 billion ($36.3 billion) Australian competition for building a fleet of 12 submarines.

In April 2016, both companies have been shortlisted by Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Germany expects a lot from the sale of 4 to 6 submarines to Norway where DCNS has recently become the favourite. This tender will offer many opportunities to Atlas Elektronik.

In the next 10 years, opened tenders for diesel-electric attack submarines are expected in the following countries:

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