Newco is dead, long live Honosthor !

Some 72 hours after the secret marriage of popular Belgian singer Stromae with his long-time girlfriend, it was the turn yesterday (15th Dec.) of Nexter Systems and KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) to tie the knot after a five-month engagement announced in July. A new land defence group has thus emerged now that the French and German companies have finalised the set-up of a joint holding company in the Netherlands they have provisionally named Honosthor (Honos, the Roman god of chivalry, honour and military justice and Thor is the Nordic god of thunder). “The sole shareholders of each of the two companies have transferred all their shares to the holding company in the legal form of an N.V.; in return they have each received 50% of the shares in the holding,” a joint KMW and Nexter communique stated yesterday.

As part of the completion, the supervisory board of Honosthor met in Amsterdam for its constitutive meeting on 15th Dec. It comprises seven members and, as FOB was able to reveal a few days ago, is chaired by the Belgian Christian Jourquin. The French owner appointed Jean‐Severin Deckers (APE‐State Holding Agency) and Bertrand Le Meur (DGA‐French Defence Procurement Agency) to the supervisory board; the owners of KMW appointed Manfred Bode and Axel J. Arendt. Alongside the independent chairman of the supervisory board, both shareholders appointed Antoine Bouvier (CEO of MBDA) and Utz‐Hellmuth Felcht onto the board as additional independent members. The shareholders’ meeting appointed KMW CEO Frank Haun and the new CEO of Nexter Systems, Stéphane Mayer as Co‐CEOs of Honosthor.

So, almost five months after the official announcement of project KANT (KMW And Nexter Together), the plan has come to fruition. The operation is full of promise and, obviously, a few concerns, notably in that it seems to us they will each have to adapt and modify their very different management and communication styles and find a common ground. For example, whilst Nexter’s theory is that the more the public knows about them the better, KMW’s appears to be completely opposite. From our point of view let’s hope that KMW comes around to Nexter’s theory and allows us a bit more insight into their products.