European space contractor Matra Marconi Space SA, MMS, the joint venture of GEC-Marconi Ltd and the Lagardere Group’s Matra SA subsidiary, has denied reports in UK newspaper The Guardian that it is shutting up shop in the UK. The company, which designs and builds satellite systems for military and commercial applications and has half its 4,700 employees based in the UK, is shutting its facilities in Bristol, with a potential loss of 400 engineers. Matra claims, contrary to reports, that the changes are due only to the end of a lease of its Bristol facility and that the employees will be moved to its other two major UK facilities, Stevenage and Portsmouth. MMS has already agreed to merge its space interests with the German group Dasa. A company spokesman claims that its $1bn contract with Motorola Inc (CI No 3,281) to build the satellite bodies- called vehicles or buses – for its 70 low earth orbit satellite system Celestri, is going to ensure the future of MMS.
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