ROME (Reuters) – Leonardo said on Tuesday it had suspended its search for a partner for the Italian defence group’s automation arm, as no offer had been made that could ensure it a “sound future”.

Leonardo Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo said in March it was considering options for the division, including an alliance with a partner ready to take the bulk of the business. It has not placed a value on the Genoa-based division.

In June, state-controlled Leonardo said it wanted to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the unit, which employs about 400 people, and safeguard staff levels.

No offer was able to “deliver (Leonardo’s) vision for the future of the automation business, which the company sees as a long-term project requiring investment in the development of automation skills and technologies,” it said in a statement.

Leonardo added that it has launched an in-depth analysis to determine changes in governance, organisation and processes to increase the competitiveness of the business as profitability is not “satisfactory”.

It also said it was “committed to the city of Genoa”.

The search for a partner who could shoulder a re-launch for the automation business is part of a wider effort by Profumo to focus on Leonardo’s core businesses including electronics for defence, helicopters and aircraft.

It is separately trying to sell its OTO Melara and Wass units while it has recently finalised the acquisition of a minority stake in German electronics for defence group Hensoldt.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Francesca Landini; Editing by Alexander Smith)