GEC Plessey Telecommunications Holdings Ltd finally got underway yesterday and used a Star War-like fanfare to announce its intentions overseas and a desire to strike up new alliances. Managing director Richard Reynolds confirmed that a major task would be to break into the international markets: We will use judicious leverage of our position to get new alliances and relationships to further our position internationally he said numbingly, while claiming that the company would remain loyal to its home customers by maintaining both GEC and Plessey product lines, even where incompatible. Sir John Clark, chairman of the new company, threatened a major thrust into the US where it aims to be the number three player. The market potential of the Bell operating companies alone is five times that culled from British Telecom orders. At present, the company has only a modest foothold based on Plessey’s Stromberg-Carlson subsidiary, but with the onus to be on marketing software and networking equipment, GEC Plessey believes it can export much of its UK based software development. The joint venture has set up five steering committees which will look into the affairs of manufacturing; in-house information technology; exports; purchasing; and quality control; and make recommendations. The new company refused to quote an amount to be spent on research and development as a percentage of turnover but promised UKP2m a week – implying 8.5% or so. Reynolds also promised an eradication of duplication but would not comment on cutbacks on the manufacturing side – where cuts are clearly needed. Unions have not been told of rationalisation plans and are anticipating a phoney war, with management withholding information until the steering committes have completed their assessments. Every time we have bowled a beamer, they have stonewalled quite well said one union man.