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28 Apr 06. VT Group plc (VT), the support services and shipbuilding company, has strengthened its portfolio of support services with the announcement today of the acquisition of four vehicle support businesses from RAC plc (part of Aviva plc). The acquisition has been completed for a total cash consideration of £87m. The businesses comprise Lex Transfleet Limited, Lex Defence Limited, Lex Defence Management Limited and RAC Software Solutions Limited. The activities of these businesses include fleet management and administration; maintenance, repair and logistic support; vehicle provision and disposal; software and support, and asset finance. Their capability was highlighted in the recent Defence Industrial Strategy which emphasised the Ministry of Defence’s stated intention to move to more turnkey contracting. The four businesses have some 27,000 vehicles under their fleet management. Over 14,000 are provided under a contract with the MoD to supply all non-combat vehicles including cars, emergency vehicles and other specialist vehicles. In addition, over 3,000 construction and related vehicles are provided to the MoD. A new contract with the Metropolitan Police, starting this month, will focus on fleet management, repair and short term rental services covering 3,600 vehicles. Together, the businesses had a turnover of £140m for the year ended December 31, 2005. Profit before interest and tax was £10.3m with a total order book in excess of £1.25bn. The businesses have gross assets of £81.3m. The businesses are expected to show continued growth during 2006 and beyond as a result of the recently secured work with the Metropolitan Police and provision of transport services to the MoD, under the Allenby Connaught contract. A further vehicle capability contract with the MoD for plant and construction equipment is a joint venture with Amey plc that will be subject to JV accounting under IFRS rules. On completion, VT Group’s share of this JV’s bank debt will be £12m. The acquisition will provide a strong strategic fit with VT’s existing defence support services business and implements one of the key elements of the Government’s Defence Industrial Strategy in promoting contracting for availability. It will be funded from a combination of the Group’s existing cash balances and a new debt facility. In addition to this new facility, VT has recently completed the re-financing of its OPV PFI contract, resulting in on-balance sheet PFI debt being reduced by £51 million. The sale and leaseback of certain VT Communications assets has also been completed, with the result that £48m of short term debt has been repaid.

01 May 06. Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA – News) is in “advanced” discussions to buy aviation parts supplier Aviall Inc. (NYSE:AVL – News) for an estimated $1.7bn, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday. A deal would be the first big acquisition for Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney and could be announced as early as Monday morning, the report said, citing unnamed sources. A deal would give Aviall shareholders about $48 per share in cash, reflecting a 27 percent premium over Aviall’s Friday close of $37.70 on the New York Stock Exchange, and the boards of both companies met on Sunday night the report said. The estimated price would be Boeing’s biggest purchase since the 1990s, when it bought McDonnell Douglas Corp. for about $29bn. Representatives for Aviall and Boeing could not immediately be reached for comment. (Source: Reuters)

26 Apr 06. Lockheed Martin has posted a 60% surge in first-quarter earnings to $591m, or $1.34 per share, from $369m, or 83 cents per share, a year ago. The largest defense contractor in the US based on sales attributed the increase to revenue from electronics and space systems businesses and to gains from the sales of interests in satellite firms Inmarsat PLC and Space Imaging LLC. Meanwhile, rival Northrop Grumman Corp reported a 12% decline in profit to $358m, or $1.02 per sh

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