Tag Archives: CASA

Pasión por volar

Durante mis últimas vacaciones en España, vi un tuit de la cuenta de Iberia promocionando la exhibición “Pasión por volar” en el Museo ABC (1). Dado que pocos días después, el viaje me llevaría a Madrid, me anoté la visita.

La exhibición ofrecía un breve repaso del desarrollo de la aviación desde principios del siglo XX hasta nuestros días con énfasis en España. El recorrido se basaba sobretodo en archivos (fotos, dibujos y textos) del periódico, trajes de azafatas de Iberia, fotos y maquetas de aviones de Iberia, y maquetas e imágenes de aeropuertos aportados por AENA, pequeños apuntes biográficos de algunos de los pioneros de la aviación…

Eché de menos la participación de Airbus como sponsor y como heredera de CASA, Hispano Aviación, etc., y como fabricante de aviones en España. De todos modos en la propia exhibición se indicaba que esta exposición tampoco pretendía ser exhaustiva y refería al Museo del Aire a tal efecto.

Carteles de Iberia. Siempre que va uno a un museo relacionado con la aviación se encuentra con carteles que son auténticas obras de arte. Carteles que le daban al hecho de volar un toque de ensueño. Si esa tradición no se ha perdido, al menos no conserva su misma aura. Los primeros carteles de la exposición venían firmados, precisaban el año, la introducción de la línea que se abría o promocionaba… Los últimos posters apenas si son una fotografía y un logo de la compañía.

DSC_0084Las biografías de los pioneros. Además de hablar de los hermanos Wright o de Charles Lindbergh, el recorrido sobre los pioneros se centraba en figuras españolas (algunas de las cuales desconocía): Antonio Fernandez Santillana (primer español en fabricar y pilotar un aeroplano), Juan Olivert Serra (primer español en volar un avión fabricado por un español en España), Emilio Herrera, Jose Ortiz Echagüe, Juan de la Cierva, Ramón Franco Bahamonde

 

El catálogo de la exposición. Antes de salir del edificio pasé a recoger a Luca en la tienda del museo, y allí vi el libro catálogo sobre la exposición. A pesar de que había tomado varias fotos, me decidí a comprarlo (18€) (2). Una gran decisión. En el libro hay bastantes más fotos, artículos, ensayos y curiosidades de las que había en la propia exhibición. De la misma forma me habría gustado comprar (al menos tener la posibilidad de hacerlo) alguna réplica de los posters de Iberia; pero no era posible. Pienso en la cantidad de posters del pintor Toulouse-Lautrec que uno ve adornando pisos, tiendas, bares… Si hubieran hecho una edición de posters de los carteles expuesto, creo que habría sido un éxito.

Maquetas y fichas técnicas de los aviones. Aquí los organizadores de la exhibición lo podrían haber hecho mejor. Maquetas y fichas estaban separadas. Recuerdo una pareja preguntándose por un avión “grande” (porque la maqueta era la más grande de las expuestas  – sobretodo cuestión de escala) y evocando el avión que les había traído de algún origen en América del Sur, preguntándose si sería el mismo (la maqueta era un A330). No todo el mundo reconoce un avión con solo verlo.

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(1) La exhibición terminó el 27 de septiembre.

(2) El libro todavía se puede adquirir.

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EADS and BAE Systems merger talks

I first learnt about the merger talks between EADS and BAE Systems via a tweet from my brother:

I then suggested that the possible kind of “last supper” might have been the “Defence and Security Co-operation Treaty” signed almost 2 years ago between France and United Kingdom.

Last supper. First, what is that “last supper” my brother was referring to? It refers to a meeting that was called in 1993 by William Perry, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense, in which he explained defence contractors the post-Cold War defense strategy which called for defense industrial base consolidation. In the chart below, you can see the spree of mergers and acquisitions that took place in the following years:

US defence contractors consolidation after “last supper” in 1993.

In Europe at the time there was a similar consolidation trend, which ended in mainly 3 big European aerospace and defence groups: EADS, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica.

Setting the record straight. Prior to the definition of those 3 groups, several discussions took place at the end of the 90s between different companies. Some articles that I have read about the EADS and BAE talks mention that after conversations between German DASA and British Aerospace failed in 1998 (when BA opted for acquiring GEC Marconi), DASA underwent the acquisition of the Spanish Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA). Well, this is not true. It never happened. DASA merged with French Aerospatiale. Some months later CASA joined the merged when EADS was created. This is well reflected in many other articles. Just as a side note: Tom Enders, current EADS CEO took a role personally in those conversations between DASA and BA already in 1998.

Balance between Defence and Civil business. Most of the articles that we can read today mention the strategic goal of EADS in balancing its defence portfolio with the civil one. Two years ago I wrote a post which included some graphics comparing the then largest world defence companies. I compared the relative size of each company and how defence-oriented their businesses are. Today, I will make use of one of those graphics to show the profile of the two companies, EADS and BAE Systems to weigh that strategic fit:

EADS vs BAE. Size and defence profile.

Stock Market response. The merger talks were announced last Wednesday 12th. The closing prices of each company the previous day were:

  • EADS: 29.67€. This is, a market value of 24.3bn€.
  • BAE Systems: 328pc. This is, a market value of 13.3bn€ (taking that day exchange rate of 1.25).

That is, the combined merger would be 37.6bn€; 64.6% coming from EADS, 35.4% from BAE. However, the announcement mentioned a 60/40 split of the parent company. That is, the announcement pointed investors that either EADS was overvalued (up to +17.7% to get a 60/40 split keeping BAE’s value constant), BAE undervalued (up to -21.5% to get a 60/40 split keeping EADS’ value constant) or somewhere in between.

In the following days, EADS price fell down and then stabilised, BAE went upwards. On Friday they closed at:

  • EADS: 25.31€. This is, a market value of 20.7bn€.
  • BAE Systems: 347pc. This is, a market value of 14.1bn€.

That is a split of 59.5%/40.5%… thus, the market understood EADS was overvalued around -15% while BAE was undervalued around 6%.

Self praise. Taking that price in which now EADS sells, 25.3€ (undoubtedly guided by the 60/40 split), I wanted to bring back another post I wrote about a year ago. In that post, I mentioned that I valued EADS at a price of 24€… Not bad :-).

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National Air & Space Museum at Dulles

Let me quote from the Wikipedia:

“The Smithsonian Institution was founded for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge” from a bequest to the United States by the British scientist James Smithson (1765–1829), who never visited the new nation. In Smithson’s will, he stated that should his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, die without heirs, the Smithson estate would go to the government of the United States to create an “Establishment for the increase & diffusion of Knowledge among men”.

“The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum complex in the world, and many of its buildings are historical and architectural landmarks.”

During our last trip to USA, Luca and I visited both locations of the National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian institution. I had already been at the one in the Mall and I already talked about it briefly in a previous post. I wanted to write about the museum at Dulles, close to DC international airport.

That museum is named after Steven F. Udvar Hazy, who is the CEO of Air Lease Corp, an airplanes leasing company. Previously he was chairman and CEO of ILFC, another leasing company, together with GECAS, one of the 2 biggest. The guy is a living legend or commercial markets: when he blessed or criticizes an aircraft it is seriously noticed by the manufacturers. He donated 65M$ to the Smithsonian to set up this museum and that’s why it carries his name. Thanks Steve! What a museum! The NASM is awesome!

The museum has dozens if not over a hundred of airplanes, satellites, rockets, helicopters, etc., in display, all tagged with small explanation of the aircraft.

On our visit we joined a free guided tour, another fabulous feature of the museum. Our guide was Bill Laux, a veteran pilot from the Navy. He was originally from Omaha where we would be going in a couple of days while he would be heading also in a couple of days to Belgium… crossing roads.

We stayed with Bill for about 2 hours, following one explanation after the other, one curiosity here, another detail there, etc. I remember visiting Ellis Island in NYC 2 years ago with a ranger who also filled the tour with stories. This is something I really like: instead of paying for a quick tour or audio-guide, they make use of the willingness of these volunteers to pass on their knowledge.

I have to admit that the session was for core aviation geeks, and I want to commend Luca for standing it. At the beginning we were a group of 10-12 people, wives and children included. The guide asked: “Who has got an aerospace background?” 4 or so of us raised hands… after 30 minutes of tour only Luca and those with aviation background continued with the tour (no sight of wives and children). After 1 hour 30 minutes, only Luca and me. After 2 hours the guide went “well, we’ve seen pretty much everything” :-). Thanks Bill!

I scanned one of the sides of the map of the museum to post it here. The map covers the Boeing hangar, but bear in mind that there is another hangar missing (James S McDonnell, which hosts a Space Shuttle), an IMAX cinema, the restoration hangar and the control tower.

I wanted to post it here so you can get a grasp of what we’re talking about. Airplanes packed side by side, one of top of the other… and not any airplane, some are unique pieces. Let me just comment on a few of them (of which below you can find the pictures):

  • The Space shuttle Enterprise: which never went to outer space as it was used only for training purposes, to let astronauts command the powerless flight after re-entry. Believe it or not, it was going to be named “Constitution”, trekkies had not stepped in.
  • A Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird: the reconnaissance aircraft which set the record as fastest aircraft back in 1976.
  • The Boeing 367-80 “Dash-80”, which as I already mentioned in a previous post, was the prototype Boeing built to test and market a new configuration for commercial jet aircraft, a configuration which all commercial aircraft have followed more or less ever since.
  • A Concorde.
  • The infamous B-29 Enola Gay.
  • The Langley Aerodrome A: a model that Samuel Pierpont Langley (a manned flight pioneer and secretary of the Smithsonian institution at the time) used to try to set the first heavier-than-air flight… he didn’t, as the model crashed in the Potomac river.
  • A Junkers 52 built by the Spanish CASA.
  • A Boeing 307 Stratoliner: the first pressurized commercial aircraft.

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I would only give one point of improvement for the museum: now you cannot get into the aircraft except for simulators, if they would just change that policy it would be just perfect (in the Mall you can actually enter in some models, e.g. Spacelab).

I forgot to mention some extras: the museum is free (free as in zero dollars), it has a transport leaving every hour to and from Dulles airport which costs just 50 cents, has lockers for big luggage free of charge, has a nice souvenir shop with plenty of aviation books and even a McDonald’s to recover some strength at half way of the visit…

In future posts I will comment some of the details of some aircraft… give credit to Bill, our guide.

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Largest defence companies

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is, in their own words, an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Every year they publish their famous SIPRI Yearbook with data about international conflicts, defence spending, defence companies…

In a previous post I showed cartograms of countries relative to their defence spending, etc. In this post I want to show a bit about the industry.

From the information of last year’s book, we find that of the 10 world biggest defence companies 6 are US companies and 4 European, though the biggest one is the British BAE Systems.

Among the first hundred companies (121 including subsidiaries) there are 4 Spanish: CASA (EADS), Navantia, Indra and Santa Barbara (General Dynamics). This places Spain as the 7th country by number of large defence companies. SIPRI publishes as well a fact sheet titled “Trends in International Arms Transfer”; in that one (data from 2005-2009) Spain is placed as the 8th country by arms exports.

Countries by number of large defence companies.

Countries by defence sales.

Finally, with the information provided by SIPRI I built the following (simplified) table where you may see which are the biggest defence companies by revenues and see how much of their business is relying on defence activities (big conglomerates like GE or UTC do not rely heavily on defence).

Defence companies by defence revenues and reliance on defence.

It is also interesting to look at the previous picture but isolating only the US companies…

US Defence companies by defence revenues and reliance on defence.

… and then taking a look at European ones:

European Defence companies by defence revenues and reliance on defence.

You may see that the top-right corner is almost exclusive domain of US companies, except for BAE, which has a big presence in the US defence market.

In this latest table you would see how the complete picture (with all 121 companies) would look like, with an atomization of smaller companies at the bottom.

Complete picture with 121 companies.

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