Unisys Corp. may be setting up a separate board of directors for its defense subsidiary as a prelude to a sale of the business, an industry analyst said.

Prudential Securities analyst Rick Martin said Unisys may have to set up a separate board for its defense operations because it recently named a Swiss national as a director.The federal government has long been concerned about foreign nationals serving as directors of defense companies, but a separate board would solve the issue by keeping the Swiss director at the parent company.

However, a separate board could well have another meaning. "A lot of people have taken that to mean that the sale of the defense business is just around the corner," Martin said.

He declined to speculate if a sale were imminent, but said, "There is no question the defense unit is for sale."

Unisys's defense electronics business accounts for about 25 percent of its $10 billion in annual revenues.

Unisys investor relations vice president Bert Traub declined to comment, saying the company's policy was not to respond to speculation.

Unisys, which has lost $1.1 billion in the past two years because of high debt costs and a slumping computer market, has said it is seeking to sell more than $1 billion of assets.