11 Jun 09. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced today that it has acquired the stock of Salvador Imaging, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance visible and low light imaging systems, for $13m cash. Salvador Imaging, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has earned a world-wide reputation for supplying innovative low light cameras for many applications. The acquisition of Salvador will enhance and differentiate FLIR’s multi-sensor systems for military customers and expand its security and surveillance product offerings to commercial customers. Salvador’s 12 and 14-bit modular camera designs utilize charge-coupled device (CCD) and electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD) sensors, at speeds in excess of 100 million frames per second. In addition to operating at high speeds and with low light, these EMCCD cameras provide color and monochrome images. “The acquisition of Salvador Imaging expands FLIR’s capabilities into a market closely related to our core infrared business. Salvador’s technology can be integrated into many of our multi-sensor systems for government applications, and has significant potential for standalone applications,” commented Earl Lewis, President and CEO of FLIR. “We welcome Salvador’s skilled and experienced team to FLIR.” Upon closing, Salvador Imaging has been re-named FLIR Advanced Imaging Systems, Inc. and will operate as a separate business unit within FLIR’s Commercial Vision Systems division. FLIR anticipates this transaction will be neutral to 2009 net earnings and accretive thereafter.
18 Jun 09. GKN committed itself to further job cuts as it revealed a £423m rights issue aimed at grappling with declining sales and looming debt renegotiations. Sir Kevin Smith, chief executive, said the cash call would be a cheaper option than the rearrangement of borrowing facilities with banks after GKN lost its investment grade status last year. He
insisted the move was the result of a “challenging environment” rather than GKN being a “troubled” company. The capital raising would allow GKN to avoid the costs, “onerous covenants” and anticipated higher charges that would be associated with refinancing its existing debt facilities. “We have a £350m revolving credit facility that matures in July next year and we’ve been considering how best to replace that,” said Sir Kevin. “The overall financing package that is available to us now – particularly as we lost our investment grade status through the back end of last year – is much less advantageous. We looked at the option to replace the revolving credit facility but we would have had to accept significantly higher borrowing charges and more onerous covenants.” Initial discussions with banks suggested that more restrictive borrowing may also have been the typical spread of 350-500 basis points above bank base rates that is charged to companies on sub-investment grade credit ratings. GKN aims to win back its investment grade status ahead of the maturity of a further £325m of bonds in 2012. In the first five months of 2009, underlying sales fell 32 per cent as GKN – a leading global supplier of driveline systems to carmakers – was adversely affected by the contraction in global demand and production. Although the company returned to trading profit in March, Sir Kevin said that the outlook for the rest of the year was uncertain. Aerospace remains a relative bright spot, as defence contracts are expected to partially compensate for a slowdown in production volumes of civil aircraft from the end of the year.
However, he cautioned that prospects for the car market remaineddifficult to gauge. “It is hard to see through what is underlying in terms of the market and what is distortion that comes through from these [car scrappage] incentive plans,” he said. The company, which had net debt of £928m on May 31, aims to have reduced its debt to £800m by the end of the year. GKN also raised its headcount reduction target for the year f