Westinghouse Electric Corp. announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire Norden Systems Inc., the defense electronics arm of United Technologies Inc.
If the transaction is completed, Norden will become a part of Westinghouse's Electronic Systems Group in Linthicum. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition would pair companies with complementary lines of business and which have long competed for military contracts. It also would represent a change in strategy for the local Westinghouse unit, which is primarily a defense contractor.
Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group is a global leader in airborne and ground radar, space electronics, and air traffic control systems.
Norden is a Norwalk, Conn.-based manufacturer of airborne and shipboard radar systems, air traffic control systems and surveillance systems for underseas applications.
It supplies the radar for the A-6 attack plane and the upgraded B-52 bomber. Norden also provides the radar for the so-called Joint STARS radar planes produced by Grumman Corp., which were rushed into the Persian Gulf war to search for Iraqi Scud missiles.
The company employs about 1,600. About 1,350 people work at Norden's main manufacturing plant in Norwalk. There are 250 at an engineering and manufacturing operation in Melville, N.Y. Norden posted sales of about $220 million last year.
Martin Moore, a spokesman for United Technologies, said Norden "had several negative years in the late 1980s, but has turned profitable in the last two years." Mr. Moore declined to provide specific numbers, saying the company does not break them out.
Five years ago, the local Westinghouse division set a goal of achieving a 50-50 split between defense and nondefense business by 1995. To achieve that, the division moved into several new markets, including home security and building automated mail sorters for the U.S. Postal Service.
At the end of last year, the company said its nondefense business accounted for about 30 percent of its approximately $2.6 billion in sales.
Earlier this year, Michael H. Jordan, Westinghouse's chairman and chief executive, told security analysts that the local division would concentrate on government, foreign and Department of Defense business.
"This acquisition furthers our announced strategy of focusing on the businesses that we know, in this case technologically advanced radar and electronic surveillance systems," Mr. Jordan said yesterday.
Mr. Moore said United Technologies is spinning off Norden as part of its decision to concentrate on its core businesses: jet engines, helicopters and auto parts.
United Technologies had sales of $21.08 billion last year and net income of $487 million.
Jack Martin, a spokesman for the local Westinghouse division, said all Norden employees will be offered jobs with Westinghouse. "But over time," he said, "we are looking to eliminate redundancies, reduce costs and strengthen our competitive position."
The acquisition, which still needs regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in the second quarter.
"We are extremely pleased to be able to add the outstanding capabilities and expertise of the Norden Systems organization to our defense electronics business," said Richard A. Linder, president of Westinghouse Electronic Systems.