ECA Group, a subsidiary of France-based Group Gorge, has entered an exclusive negotiation period to acquire 100% of iXblue’s capital.

The proposed merger is expected to create a European group that will deliver high-tech industrial solutions for the space, maritime and defence sectors.

The value of the new ECA Group-iXblue entity is estimated at approximately $878m (€800m). It is also expected to have a combined backlog of more than $680.15m (€620m).

ECA Group CEO Dominique Giannoni said: “The joining of our two companies, which will employ over 1,500 people, offers great growth opportunities.

“Once combined, our various technological expertise will greatly help strengthen our leadership positions in our markets, while our complementary geographical footprint will enable us to better serve our customers by being closer to them.”

Founded in 1936, ECA Group has expertise in producing automated systems, robotics, simulation and industrial processes.

On the other hand, iXblue specialises in design and manufacturing of advanced systems and solutions in the field of subsea positioning, underwater imaging, inertial navigation and simulation.

The alliance will contribute to integrated autonomous systems for the maritime sector, land robotics, naval equipment, underwater acoustics, and aeronautical equipment.

In addition, the combined entity will support the France 2030 Seabed Control Plan carried by the French Ministry of Armed Forces and the Ministry of Sea.

iXblue president and CEO Fabien Napolitano said: “Our two companies share the same culture of innovation, agility and entrepreneurship that are at the heart of each of our DNAs and for which we are both recognised and valued.

“The new synergies created will not only ensure we keep this DNA but will also strengthen our capacity for innovation by leveraging our complementary expertise.

“This will allow us to continue to push the technological frontiers and support our customers in their most demanding challenges.”