By Derek Gomes
Newport Daily News staff writer
Raytheon, a massive U.S. defense contractor best known for manufacturing the Patriot missile defense system, has agreed to merge with industrial technology giant United Technologies in an all-stock deal, the two companies announced Sunday. The combined company would be the second-largest U.S. aerospace company, behind Boeing.
The newly formed Raytheon Technologies would be combined with United’s Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney, both leading producers of jet engines and engine parts. It would not inherit United’s Carrier air conditioner business or its Otis elevator company, both of which are being spun off under the terms of an earlier deal.
In a phone interview Sunday evening, executives from both companies said the deal was driven by a desire to create a leading aerospace technology company using state-of-the-art hardware from the defense and commercial aviation industries. The combined company would employ more than 60,000 engineers, would have about 38,000 active patents, and would have enough financial firepower to invest $8 billion each year in research and development, they said.
Raytheon is the largest employer in Portsmouth, with its Integrated Defense Systems campus off West Main Road. Even after shedding jobs and pieces of its sprawling property over the years, the office employs about 1,000 people.
A Raytheon spokesman, Michael Doble, said Monday there was no information about the merger other than what was stated in the news release when asked about its possible implications for the Portsmouth campus. “Very early in the process,” he wrote in an email.
Erin Donovan-Boyle, the executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce
, said she has been speaking with the governor’s office and Rhode Island Commerce Corp. about the merger.
“We will make sure we do whatever we can to advocate, first of all that the jobs remain here and the campus remains here,” she told The Daily News. “It would be great if they merged and all moved here. We certainly have the capacity to support that from the commercial side. ... Just keeping an eye on what this means and advocating it’s a smooth transition.”
“Raytheon is a valued member of our Rhode Island business community and our top priority is ensuring that Raytheon’s jobs remain in Rhode Island,” wrote Commerce Corp. spokesman Matt Sheaff in an email. “The Administration is in communication with the senior leadership at both companies and we will continue to actively monitor the situation as the merger progresses.”
The company’s main focus at the Portsmouth campus is seapower capability — sensors, combat management systems, radar and sonar. “Essentially everything above the water, below the water, on the water,” Paul Ferraro, Raytheon’s vice president of Integrated Defense Systems’ seapower capability systems, previously said.
Rich Talipsky, the town’s director of business development, said he does not expect any “immediate changes” and framed the merger as a potential positive for Portsmouth because Raytheon and United Technologies will have a stake here.
“I think it can only strengthen the defense [industry] posture and jobs in Rhode Island,” he said. “We don’t see any negative effects on this right now. Of course, time will tell how they look at consolidation. We’ve seen large changes like this in the defense industry.”
Manufacturing is Portsmouth’s largest employment sector, in large part thanks to Raytheon.
Read the full article on the Providence Journal website: