04 Jan 08. BAE Systems plc has strengthened its operations in the UK through the acquisition of a software business. It added to its portfolio the Government and commercial software business of Petards Group plc, an advanced surveillance systems developer, for £2.4m. The sum was paid in cash on completion, with a further £100,000 due if certain financial targets are achieved. The acquired business comprises a range of software products, including the Universal Video Management System (UVMS), which is used in casinos, train stations, arenas and shopping centres. The division made a £400,000 profit in 2006 from a £1.8m turnover and will now trade as part of BAE’s Integrated Systems Technology operations. Petards’ directors decided to sell the business following a change in strategy. The business will now focus its operations on a limited range of technologies and markets. The proceeds will be used to reduce group debt and will also be invested in its remaining operations. Under the terms of the deal, Petards will continue to provide the UVMS in North America through a licensing arrangement with BAE Systems. It has retained its other security products, including the Hawk camera, which is used for licence plate recognition, and its Swift wireless cameras.
02 Jan 08. QinetiQ Group plc has signed agreements to purchase two Australian defence consulting businesses, Ball Solutions Group Pty Ltd and Novare Services Pty Ltd. These acquisitions are being acquired for a total cash consideration of A$20 million and are subject to regulatory approval. They represent QinetiQ’s first investment in Australia and provide the company with a presence of 185 staff located in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Ball Solutions Group is a provider of professional and consulting services, primarily to the Australian Department of Defence, has annual revenues of A$29m and is being acquired from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp of Broomfield, Colorado, USA. It operates in three main practice areas: business systems and applications; data acquisition and management; and operations research and analysis. Novare provides engineering and logistics services to the Australian Department of Defence, its prime contractors and selected commercial partners. It has annual revenues of A$6.1m and is being acquired from its management, who will remain with the company. Novare’s core expertise is in explosive ordnance and weapons, aerospace systems, advanced technical data management and performance based contracting. These acquisitions represent the continuing execution of QinetiQ’s strategy to grow its Europe, Middle East and Australasia (EMEA) capabilities. They will enhance QinetiQ’s portfolio of defence and security based expertise, provide additional routes to market and broaden QinetiQ’s customer base through existing relationships and contractual arrangements. The acquisitions are subject to Australian and US Government regulatory approval and are expected to complete by the end of February 2008, after which the companies will trade as QinetiQ Consulting Pty Ltd.
28 Dec 07. In the spring of 2003, auditors for a bank owned by Liechtenstein’s royal family spotted an unusual flurry of money transfers involving a small offshore firm called Martha Overseas Corp. They discovered that Martha Overseas was controlled by Prodromos Mavridis, a top executive in Greece with Siemens AG, the German engineering giant. Millions of euros were pouring into the account from another offshore firm controlled by a different Siemens executive based at the company’s Munich headquarters. The bank auditors in the tiny Alpine nation, on the lookout for possible terrorist-financing transactions, had instead stumbled upon one of the largest corporate bribery cases in recent history. Today, prosecutors in the U.S. and around the world are pursuing allegations that Siemens bribed customers to win big infrastructure contracts. Increased post-9/11 s