2001 Maritime
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Majors team for USCG Deepwater Program
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Ingalls Shipbuilding are creating a joint venture partnership under which the two major corporations will submit a proposed "best value" solution for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program.

The joint venture -- Integrated Coast Guard Systems -- formalizes a partnership underway for more than three years. The team is hosting its Functional Design Review (FDR) for the Coast Guard this week at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Moorestown.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program was established to recapitalize the organization’s ships, aircraft and system platforms to support deepwater missions. The missions include Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Safety, National Defense and Marine Environmental Protection.

Integrated Coast Guard Systems is "focused on providing the Coast Guard with 21st century solutions to upgrade its 20th century, aging fleet."

NE&SS-Surface Systems is one of five major lines of business comprising the Lockheed Martin NE&SS business segment. NE&SS provides surface ship and submarine weapon systems, antisubmarine warfare and ocean surveillance systems, missile launching systems, radar and sensor systems, ship systems integration services and other advanced systems and services to customers worldwide. NE&SS is an operating segment of the Lockheed Martin Systems Integration business area.

Ingalls Shipbuilding is part of Northrop Grumman’s Ship Systems (NGSS) Sector, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., and is joined in this Sector by the Ship Systems Full Service Center, also located in Pascagoula, Miss. NGSS is a full service systems company for the design, engineering, construction and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

Røkke tries to buy out Aker Maritime minority shareholders
Norwegian entrepreneur Kjell Inge Røkke is seeking full control over Aker Maritime. Earlier today, the Board of Aker Maritime decided to offer its minority shareholders "a chance to realize their share of the underlying values of the group through a voluntary redemption offer."

The company's majority shareholder, Røkke's Aker RGI, will not accept the offer. It will, instead, "continue as a shareholder and contribute to the further development of Aker Maritime as a leading Norwegian-based center of technology and expertise."

A statement from Aker Maritime says the company "has consciously and systematically demonstrated considerable value for its customers and shareholders through its efficient, forward-looking workplaces and companies, new contracts, increased order backlog and the disposal of operations. Nevertheless, its share price has fallen."

"Our shareholders have not benefited from the increase in the underlying value of the company," says Sverre Skogen, president and CEO of Aker Maritime. "The offer will give shareholders an opportunity to realize their share of the underlying values in the group, fully reflecting the real value of the company." Skogen, who himself holds 44,500 shares in Aker Maritime, has already decided to accept the offer.

Strategy remains unchanged Aker Maritime will continue its strategy of further industrial growth concentrating on further internationalisation based on its technology and products, the implementation of field development projects and the operation and maintenance of existing oil and gas platforms.

The group has approved a significant technology development programme and resolved to strengthen its presence in Houston in order to realise this strategy. Other steps, including investment in facilities, are in the pipeline. Investments in fixed assets are closely tied in with other measures, aiming to make the group's Norwegian operations more competitive internationally.

The offer will ensure that Aker Maritime will benefit from the competitive edge that a committed and aligned ownership structure represents in this business.

Around NOK 2 billion of the company's funds, half of which in the form of CGG shares, will be distributed if the offer is accepted by all minority shareholders. CGG is one of the world's leading seismic companies (www.cgg.com) and is listed in both Paris (Euronext) and New York (NYSE). If all minority shareholders accept the offer, the group will still have an equity/assets ratio of around 40 per cent and thus the financial strength needed to carry out its plans.

"Aker RGI supports our plans for the long-term industrial growth of Aker Maritime," comments Skogen. "This also applies to our decision to put our work on a merger with Kværner on hold as a result of the outcome of Kværner's general meeting in May." However, he emphasizes that Aker Maritime will continue to work to increase the value of its Kværner investment and will follow the company's development carefully.

The board says its offer fully reflects the underlying value of the company and values it at approximately NOK 5.4 billion. This is equivalent to NOK 95 per share (about $10.7), or NOK 25 higher than yesterday's closing price

Bush names Navy acquisition nominee
The White House has issued a stement saying that President George W. Bush intends to nominate John J. Young to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.  He has been with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense since 1991, first as a Sandia National Labs Congressional Fellow from 1991 to 1993 and then as a Professional Staff Member since 1993.  

From 1988 to 1993, he was a member of the Technical Staff of Sandia National Labs, and from 1987 to 1988 he was a member of the technical staff at Rockwell International. Young is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and received a Master's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University

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