Nortel ups stakes in German, French joint ventures

Nortel Networks yesterday announced that it has raised its ownership to take majority stakes in two of its European joint ventures, the Germany-based Nortel Dasa Network Systems GmbH and Co. KG and Matra Nortel Communications SAS in France.

The Canada-based company has increased its share from around 50 percent in both companies to 58 percent in Nortel Dasa and 55 percent in Matra Nortel, it said in a statement released yesterday.

A Nortel spokesman at the company's UK office declined to reveal further financial details related to either deal.

Nortel Dasa is a joint venture with DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, which last October was awarded a $US100 million contract to build an optical network linking 21 cities in Germany, and in January it also won a $200 million contract to be the systems integrator for Einsteinnet, a German facilities-based ASP (application services provider), according to the statement.

Matra Nortel, meanwhile, is a joint venture with France's Aerospatiale Matra. The venture's French partner has an estimated 30 percent share of the enterprise solutions market in France, with customers including France Télécom SA and MCI WorldCom, Nortel said.

Nortel also announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Aerospatiale Matra, which provides for the creation of a new, yet to be named company, to be created by divesting Matra Nortel's professional mobile radio business.

Upon completion of the deal, which is subject to customary conditions and approvals, Nortel will hold 45 percent of the new company, with Aerospatiale Matra holding a majority 55 percent stake. The deal is expected to close this quarter, according to the statement.

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