Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,397 pages of information and 233,863 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Marconi plc

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1999 After demerging its defence interests, GEC renamed itself Marconi plc, concentrating on communications and IT.

Marconi was expected to be split[1]:

  • Marconi Communications which would be 60 percent of the new company
  • Marconi Systems including Picker International, Gilbarco and Videojet which would be 30 percent of the business
  • GEC Capital, which would hold the remaining (non-core) businesses, amounting to about 10 percent of the business.

Having made 2 major US acquisitions of companies involved in fibre-optic cables and telecommunications equipment, and having disposed of non-core business such as Domestic Appliances, the company planned to capitalise on telecoms underinvestment in fibre but sell off its Fibreway JV as an independent telecoms operator.[2]

2000 Planned to invest in expansion of the manufacturing and packaging facilities of its optical components business, Marconi Caswell Technologies[3]

By mid-2001 Marconi was described as "struggling"[4]. The turn-down in the telecoms market exposed the company to the huge amount of debt it had taken on to purchase internet-related companies. The chairman, Lord Simpson, and chief executive were replaced.

2002 Arranged a debt-for-equity swap with its creditors to keep the company going[5]

2003 Marconi plc renamed itself Marconi Corporation

2004 Planned to sell the Outdoor Power and Plant division in order to cut debt[6]

2005 BT excluded Marconi from consideration for its network upgrade because of price considerations, leading to job losses in Coventry and Liverpool and raising concerns that Marconi could not remain independent[7]. Most of the business was sold to Ericsson of Sweden but Ericsson would not take on the legacy pension scheme. Instead a new company, Telent, was set up to hold the remainder of the company. Telent would sell telecomms. services to businesses, telecom operators and governments in Britain and Germany[8]

The businesses acquired by Ericsson were:

  • Marconi's optical networking business
  • Marconi's broadband and fixed radio access network business
  • Marconi's softswitch business
  • Marconi's data networking equipment and services businesses
  • Marconi's relevant telecommunications services activities
  • The Marconi trademark, associated brand names and IPR.

2006 Marconi Corporation became part of Telent plc[9]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Aug. 30, 1999
  2. The Times July 22, 2000
  3. The Times Oct. 7, 2000
  4. The Times, July 23, 2001
  5. The Times Aug. 28, 2002
  6. The Times Aug. 10, 2004
  7. The Times Apr. 29, 2005
  8. The Times Oct. 26, 2005
  9. Companies House filings