A major player in the aerospace and defence sector has joined forces with the Cardiff Blues in a lucrative partnership, which will see it named as the teams main sponsor for the new rugby season.
South-Wales based EADS Defence and Security (EADS DS) has signed an initial one-year agreement with exclusive extension options with the top-flight rugby team which will see EADS appear as lead sponsor on the players shirts for the 2008/09 season.
HRH The Duke of York recently opened EADS £35M technology centre situated off the M4 corridor near the cities of Newport and Cardiff. With the support of the Welsh Assembly Government, the company now employs around 1,200 highly-skilled people in South Wales.
EADS is creating the next-generation technology solutions and services, principally in the areas of secure IT, communications and cryptography. The site is also home to EADS Innovation Works UK, part of the groups global network of research and technology facilities.
Welcoming the news of the partnership, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "I strongly welcome the announcement of a new relationship bringing together two areas in which I have a very active and passionate interest - our developing knowledge-led economy and our national sport.
The importance of getting more technology-based companies into Wales is something I have long taken a special interest in and having such a true European heavyweight such as EADS, a key technology campus in South Wales as well as being the parent company of Airbus which is by far the largest manufacturing employer in North Wales is an indication of how involved Wales is with EADS!
As I am now personally into my seventh decade of watching rugby at the Arms Park, and in a year that sees the Blues perform their final campaign at this historic ground before starting their exciting new future at Leckwith Stadium, this new relationship between EADS and the Blues will fit together very well. I take this opportunity to wish EADS and the Cardiff Blues every success."
Speaking of the new high-profile partnership with the Cardiff Blues, EADS DS Vice President Mike Simms said: We are proud to support the Cardiff Blues. The rugby team is an important part of community life in the capital city and the wider region."
Teaming up with Cardiff Blues is a great move for a world class knowledge-led company like ours. Skill, innovation, commitment and teamwork are essential to succeed in business and rugby. EADS is pleased to be associated with Cardiff Blues and the nations favourite sport.
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Robert Norster said: We are naturally delighted to have completed a partnership agreement with such a major European business giant as EADS. The company's 25th anniversary of their association with our Heineken Cup opponents of last season, Stade Touloussain, was a memorable occasion that we were delighted to help celebrate and we sincerely hope our new relationship will prove to be as long standing and successful.
Visit EADS Defence and Security at http://www.eadsds.com