HISTORY OF STANDARD TELEPHONES AND CABLES (STC)


In 1925, Western Electric sold off its international operations, as well as the general electrical equipment merchandizing operations.  The buyer of the international operations was the infant ITT Corporation, founded by Sosthenes Behn less than ten years previously with an aggressive and thrusting reputation. To fit with its other worldwide operations, ITT renamed its new UK operation Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd, its name implying a standard against which others would be measured.

In 1938, Kolster-Brandes became part of STC.

The Brimar valve and cathode-ray tube division was sold to Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd. in 1960.

STC became the world leader in cable manufacture after acquiring Submarine Cables Ltd in 1970.

ITT needed to raise cash to fund continued development of its System 12 telephone switching system and sold off all but a minority shareholding of STC between 1979 and 1982.

In mid-1982 it became an independent company and was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

An attempt to enter the mainframe computer market with the takeover of ICL in 1984 led to financial strains.

In October 1987 Northern Telecom Ltd., the Canadian telecommunications giant, acquired the remaining ITT stock. STC then bought Northern Telecom's U.K. telecommunications operations.

Almost immediately, STC had financial problems and ICL was ring-fenced to preserve it as a profit centre.

In July 1990, STC sold 80% of ICL to Fujitsu, of Japan, for 750 million. STC used the money to pay debts and to invest in the growing communications-systems market.

By 1991, with an ageing workforce, loss of business from the newly privatised BT, production spread over too many expensive sites and no clear leadership succession to its former chairman, Sir Kenneth Corfield, STC was bought by Canadian company Northern Telecom (Nortel).

 

 
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Last revised: December 15, 2021

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