The Commonwealth Government's announcement of the preferred bidder for the purchase of ADI was a day the company had been looking forward to for a very long time, the managing director of ADI Limited, Mr Ken Harris, said today.
"In late 1996, we advised the Government that ADI should be privatised. We are delighted the Government has now made a decision on the ownership of the company," Mr Harris said.
"Over the last decade we've transformed the former government run defence production operations, which were losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year, into a world-class, high technology company.
"However, the worldwide defence industry upheavals over recent years and rapidly advancing technology mean we can't progress further without the additional capital and new technologies that privatisation will bring.
"ADI has been adamant that, in order for us to grow in this global, competitive technology driven market, we need owners who are switched on to doing business in that market. This is why governments are not suitable owners of businesses."
Mr Harris said from the earliest stage of the privatisation process ADI had stated the objectives it would like to see met in the sale of the company:
--Availability of capital for research and development and for expansion.
--Availability of technology to enhance ADI's and Australia's technology base.
--Enhanced international market leverage.
He said ADI would be greatly advantaged by having Transfield and Thomson as its new owners.
"Transfield is recognised in Australia and overseas for its financial strength and outstanding project management capabilities in engineering and other industry sectors.
"Thomson is one of the world's major defence companies with operations in 40 countries. Its advanced electronic systems products and capabilities are held in very high regard and have been used on ADI's successful minehunter ships project."
Mr Harris said the Transfield and Thomson consortium would open up new markets for ADI through technology transfer and through the scale of their operations in Australia and overseas.
He said ADI's management team would work closely with the new owners to assist them in a smooth transition to ownership of ADI.