British government announces plans to sell DERA

May 8, 2000
The British government has announced plans to sell off three-quarters of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) and has launched a period of consultation on the scheme.

The British government has announced plans to sell off three-quarters of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) and has launched a period of consultation on the scheme. Included in the plans is splitting the agency into two parts: a private-sector company that will be sold to investors, with a floatation as early as 2001, and a smaller core agency that will remain within the Ministry of Defence. The DERA is one of Europe's largest research organizations, with an annual turnover in excess of £1 billion ($1.6 billion), and is one of the largest employers of physicists in the UK, employing about 9000 research scientists. The government is expected to initially retain a share that would prevent a foreign takeover of the new company. Historically, the various establishments that now comprise DERA have been at the forefront of laser and electro-optics developments.—W. Conard Holton

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