When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
BAE hits back at Saudi Arabia talks rumours
8:00pm Saturday 21st December 2013 in News
AEROSPACE giant BAE has hit back at reports that talks with Saudi Arabia over the supply of its fighter jets have stalled.
Share prices fell by four per cent yesterday after it was revealed the UAE had pulled out of discussions to buy Typhoon jets in a deal thought to be worth billions.
And investors were also spooked because there was no sign of progress on price negotiations surrounding a 2007 deal with Sauda Arabia, when the oil-rich country bought 72 jets.
But the company denies talks have been disrupted and said it would not be rushed into striking a deal.
It said in a statement: “The group’s focus in these negotiations continues to be on agreeing appropriate terms and not the timing of such an agreement.
“BAE Systems’ long-standing relationship with its much valued customer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains excellent.”
BAE pointed to the ‘substantial’ new business in has received this year as evidence the relationship with Saudi was not turning sour.
Chorley MP Lyndsay Hoyle said: “It’s a major contract and one we have to secure, but BAE has to look where it makes its profit.
What we can’t afford to do is lose that contract. It would be a disaster for Lancashire.
“The sooner we see that deal the better, following UAE’s announcement.
“Vince Cable, the defence team, and the Prime Minister should be flying out there to see what we can do to resurrect the deal.”
Defence and aerospace specialist Howard Wheeldon said UAE’s announcement was ‘hugely disappointing’ but not irrecoverable.
He said: “They have not lost it to another aircraft and I think it could still resurface.”
Mr Wheeldon said the pricing dispute with the Saudis is down to an increase in the Typhoon’s capabilities.
He said: “The bells and whistles were upgraded, and therefore there’s a price difference. The equipment and the capabilities changed, and the price goes up as a result.
“I think there’s a good possibility [the Saudis] will sign an agreement in the next three months, but I don’t know.
“My gut feeling is that we are moving in the right direction on this, but nobody can say when and if this will be the case.
“I have been to Saudi several times - you negotiate and then you sit and wait. It’s a system that does not work the same way.
“But you respect that and you can’t order them around.
“My view is that BAE has gone as far as it can, and now they are just waiting for the Saudis to formally say and sign.
“That’s why they put out this announcement.”
Comments are closed on this article.