BAE SYSTEMS has agreed to sell its South African armoured vehicle business to local defence manufacturer Denel for R855 million. Europe’s leading weapons maker would dispose of a 75 percent holding in Land Systems SA to help focus its own armoured activities on tracked, combat and amphibious vehicles, Erwin Bieber, the president of BAE Platforms and Services, said yesterday. DGD Technologies, a black economic empowerment company, is selling the remaining 25 percent stake. The South African operation specialises in tactical wheeled vehicles, remote weapon launching platforms, fire directing systems, mechanical driveline products and precision machined components and gears. The sale should close in the fourth quarter given regulatory and other approvals, BAE said. State-owned Denel was formed in 1992 from the former Armscor, with London-based BAE seeking a 30 percent stake in 2000 before the deal fell through over the next three years. BAE acquired most of its South African land systems assets through its purchase of Alvis a decade ago. – Bloomberg