Home Business News Proposed £4bn takeover of Cobham ‘threatens UK national security’

Proposed £4bn takeover of Cobham ‘threatens UK national security’

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
21st Aug 19 8:42 am

The government are to look into concerns of the proposed £4bn takeover of UK defence firm Cobham.

The founding family of the defence firm have called for the government to intervene as they have said it is not in “the UK’s national interests.”

Lady Nadine Cobham wrote to Ben Wallace the defence secretary and to Andrea Leadsom the business secretary over concerns and growing opposition against the buyout.

Wallace responded and said he will “look at” there concerns and consider the impact on “the security and skills.”

The PA news agency saw the letter written by Wallace, he said, “I do, of course understand your concerns.

“I come from a long line of UK manufacturers and have always been an active supporter of UK skills and manufacturing. In 2003, I worked for QinetiQ and know too well the competitive nature of industry.

“Let me assure you that I will look at your concerns and will at all times bear in mind the security and skills needed to best protect this country.”

Lady Cobham replied, “We are encouraged that the Defence Secretary understands our concerns about the proposed takeover of Cobham, which threatens UK national security, valuable high-tech jobs and this country’s manufacturing capability.

“The Government must block the takeover to prevent Advent from exploiting Cobham’s years of investment, the weak pound and recent stabilisation of the company’s finances.”

Liberal Democrat MP and party business spokesman Chuka Umunna said that the government “needs to act” without delay.

He said, “The alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear for ministers here – not only does this transaction pose serious national security questions but it will also have a material impact on our manufacturing base, so it undoubtedly engages the public interest.

“Instead of industrial activism, we see industrial passivism from a government happy to see a jewel in the crown of our defence and aerospace industries threatened.”

Last month the board of the aerospace and defence group led by Jamie Pike chairman recommended to their shareholders to accept the cash offer.

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