Business: Merging for Survival

Britain's ailing aircraft makers believe that misery loves a new company. Last week Vickers-Armstrongs, maker of the turboprop Viscount and Vanguard, and English Electric Co., R.A.F. fighter-plane builder, sped up their longstanding merger talks. They also began courting Bristol Aircraft, maker of the turboprop Britannia. They feel they will need a big combine to compete against the Hawker-Siddeley Group and de Havilland Aircraft Co., which last month announced plans to merge. If stockholders approve, Hawker-Siddeley and de Havilland will become the biggest aircraft company in the Commonwealth (combined assets: $250 million).

Behind the new moves to combine is Duncan Sandys, Britain's Minister...

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