French firm buys most of GE homeland protection unit

The French firm Safran is acquiring a major share of GE Security’s Homeland Protection business for $580 million.

Combining Homeland Protection’s capabilities with Safran’s portfolio will enable Safran to become a leading global player in airport security solutions, GE officials said in an announcement today.

Under terms of the definitive agreement, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, after the acquisition is completed Homeland Protection’s parent company, General Electric Co., will own 19 percent and Safran will own 81 percent.

The new entity will focus on identification solutions and detection offerings globally and will benefit from continued access to technology advancements from GE’s Global Research Center and GE Healthcare, the officials said.

The combination of the complementary technology of both businesses will provide customers with the benefit of new technology solutions to keep ahead of the changing threats, they added.

From checked baggage screening to passenger identity and credentialing to check-in, Safran will be able to provide seamless, fully integrated homeland security solutions that will enable clients to address threats prior to a potential occurrence, the officials said.

The new entity will feature Safran’s ID management, plus Homeland Protection’s aviation safety, checked baggage screening, military and critical infrastructure protection together with new growth platforms in chemical and biological, X-ray and radiation and nuclear detection.

The Homeland Protection business will become part of Safran’s Defense Security division of Sagem Securite, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Paul Jainsky. Dennis Cooke will stay on as president and CEO of the Homeland Protection business, which will remain in Newark, Calif.

“This move aligns Homeland Protection with a business that is committed to globalization and further investment in new detection technologies and new products for the homeland security space,” Cooke said in a statement.

The purchase strengthens the partnership between the two companies that have worked together for 35 years and manufacture commercial aircraft engines through their CFM International joint venture, Bloomberg News reported.

In 2008, Safran acquired SDU-Identification, a Dutch manufacturer of secure passports and ID documents, and Motorola’s biometrics business. “Adding GE Homeland Protection will make Safran a pivotal player in the security market, a business that will generate 20 percent of the group’s total revenues,” Safran CEO Jean-Paul Herteman said.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

General Electric, of Fairfield, Conn., ranks No. 37 on Washington Technology’s 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

Reader Comments

Mon, Apr 27, 2009 Jim

With the enormous Muslim presence in France which raises the probability of infiltration into Safran's facilities, DHS needs to take an extremely close look at the possibility of U.S. security being compromised through information that could be stolen from Safran's facilities by infiltrators. By relinquishing control of this type of work to persons outside our borders where U.S. oversight is minimal or nonexistent, like previous administrations, especially Clinton's, have already allowed with much of our defense technology (even allowing the sale of ballistic missile technology to China!) and essential heavy industries, we increase our vulnerability to loss of critical technology exponentially! Don't we ever learn? Germany was allowed to obtain copies of Goddard's U.S. rocket patents just before WWII (which they used to make the V-1 and especially the V-2 rocket bombs they used on Britain), and Germany (I.G. Farben) was also allowed to partner with Standard Oil and others to obtain the technology for making synthetic oil and synthetic rubber immediately before the outbreak of WWII! Those two errors cost Britain and the U.S. dearly: Without the synthetic rubber and fuel, Hitler would not have dared to start WWII. Our oversight of essential technologies within the U.S. may not be perfect, but at least it is not totally out of our control!

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above.


WT Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.