Bird & Bird Aviation & Aerospace team acts for Galileo Industries

05 July 2004

Firm puts corporate structure in place for new European satellite navigation system

International law firm Bird & Bird has been instructed by a consortium of European based space enterprises in order to implement the company structure for “Galileo Industries”, a new European satellite navigation system aiming to counterbalance the US navigation system GPS. Bird & Bird won the instruction after a beauty parade.

Galileo Industries GmbH which has a registered office in Ottobrunn, Munich and a subsidiary company, Galileo Industries SpA, based in Rome, is the result of a collaboration of a group of European space companies aiming to develop a civil and independent navigation system for the EU and European Space Agency (ESA), providing an alternative to US dominant GPS systems.

Alcatel Space SA (France), Alenia Spazio SpA (Italy), EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany), EADS Astrium Ltd (UK) and Galileo Sistemas Y Servicios (Spain), have participated in the creation of Galileo Industries which has now been set up as an independent company governed by a shareholders’ agreement between them.

The project is now in a development and validation phase which will support the construction and operation of the satellite navigation system. It is hoped that from the year 2008, 30 satellites, which are located on an orbit at an altitude of 24,000km will cover the entire globe, enabling exact position finding. The total costs of the project are being estimated at €3.4 billion.

Bird & Bird lawyers across offices in Germany and Italy were involved in this project. Led by Dr. Ulrich Goebel, a corporate/M&A partner in the firm’s Munich office, the team advised on the set-up of the new venture. Corporate partner Alberto Salvadè in Bird & Bird’s Italian office led the work there.

Commenting on the project Ulrich Goebel said:

“Working together with five major European space enterprises in this cross-border project was an outstanding and challenging experience. We are delighted to have participated and contributed to placing the foundation stone of this extraordinary and significant venture.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Ulrich Goebel on +49 (0)89 35816 137 or Larry Cattle on + 44 (0) 20 7415 6156.