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EADS buys satellite communications firm

EADS buys satellite communications firm
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EADS is to pay 673 million euros for the satellite communications service provider Vizada.

It is the latest of a series of deals the European aerospace group is making to use surplus cash from booming civil airliner sales.

EADS wants to reduce its exposure to the cyclical nature of the aircraft market.

Vizada, which is being sold by private equity owner Apax France, has 200,000 customers in the maritime, aviation and defence sectors. It will become part of EADS’ Astrium space business.

“The growing demand for maritime services is a perfect cornerstone for Astrium to develop its commercial satellite communications business,” EADS said in a statement.

It is EADS’s second-largest acquisition after the 2.75 billion euro ($3.96 billion) buyout of BAE Systems’ 20 percent stake in its main subsidiary Airbus.

Under pressure from analysts to look at better uses for an 11 billion euro net cash surplus, EADS has long said it is ready to spend up to two billion euros to fund external growth.

In June, EADS bought Canadian repair firm Vector Aerospace for some 450 million euros and last week Airbus announced a $500 million bid for Danish parts distributor Satair.

Airbus also agreed to buy Metron Aviation, which supplies services for air traffic control, for an undisclosed sum.