29 Aug 19. American Panel Corporation (APC), the world’s leader in custom AMLCD products for both avionics and vetronics applications, has been chosen for acquisition by Mercury Systems, Inc., (NASDAQ: MRCY), an innovative aerospace and defense company. Two years ago, Mercury established the Mission Systems group and began its expansion into mission computing, safety-critical avionics and platform management with the acquisitions of Creative Electronic Systems (CES) in Geneva, Switzerland; Richland Technologies in Duluth, Georgia; and earlier this year GECO Avionics in Mesa, Arizona. APC will add a new, significant capability to Mercury’s Mission Systems group.
As Mercury’s first acquisition of an optical display component company, APC offers many years of both aerospace and ground vehicle application display experience to the table while Mercury brings a wide presence in mission critical and safety certified systems and components to APC.
APC is a privately held corporation, which has excelled in delivering the highest quality optical display components to first tier avionics and vetronics integrators since 1998, with well over 120,000 display components provided to customers worldwide. APC, in its acquisition agreement by Mercury, intends for “business as usual” with all existing partners, customers and suppliers. The same people and products will remain available to support existing and future requirements-based display needs where product performance under extreme operating conditions is preeminent. Once the acquisition closes, APC will become a subsidiary of Mercury Systems, Inc. and all customer information provided to APC will remain protected under current non-disclosure agreements.
Jamie Boulet, APC’s Manager of Business Development said, “This is just the beginning of great things to happen for the future, in combining the strength of APC with a proven aerospace leader such as Mercury Systems.”
About American Panel Corporation (APC)
American Panel Corporation specializes in display products that are installed in defense tracked and wheeled vehicles as well as military and commercial aircraft. In order to fully meet demanding environmental and optical requirements without making critical trade-offs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures highly specialized LCD display products. These displays are installed by vetronics and avionics integrators worldwide.
For further information about APC display products or technology, please feel free to contact Mr. Jamie Boulet () for further information.
American Panel is displaying its range of advanced vehicle displays in Booth No. N5-263 at DSEI 2019.
28 Aug 19. General Electric wins partial dismissal of shareholder lawsuit. A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday partially dismissed a lawsuit by investors in General Electric Co (GE.N) that accused the company of concealing $24bn (19.55bn pounds) in insurance liabilities and using fraudulent accounting to prop up its power business.
Judge Jesse Furman, however, granted the shareholders permission to amend their complaint. The class-action lawsuit, originally filed in November 2017, consolidates six cases that sought to hold GE and its senior leaders accountable for falling profits in recent years.
The suit, brought by more than a dozen U.S. and foreign pension plans, retirement funds and investors in GE, names the company and former Chief Executive Officers Jeff Immelt, John Flannery and other senior executives. It alleges they understated GE’s exposure to long-term care insurance risks and risks related to its long-term service agreements with customers that bought power plant equipment from GE.
“Plaintiffs may be able to allege additional facts regarding the individual defendants’ knowledge, or conscious disregard of, GE’s actuarial issues (with respect to its LTC portfolio) and the trends and risks it should have disclosed (with respect to its LTSAs) that would permit plaintiffs to clear the scienter bar,” Furman wrote in his ruling, referring to the legal term for knowledge of wrongdoing. In an emailed statement, a GE spokesman said, “We are pleased the court dismissed the vast majority of the claims against GE, including the securities fraud allegations related to the company’s legacy insurance business. We intend to vigorously defend the rest of the case and continue to believe the claims are without merit.”
The ruling comes just after Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos said GE’s insurance business was under-funded relative to what it owed for long-term care policies.
A subsequent Fitch Ratings report ranked GE’s insurance units as among the most exposed to long-term care and least prepared to pay such claims.
The suit alleges that starting in early 2013, Immelt and other top GE executives repeatedly misled investors by saying GE had sold its insurance business even though GE remained liable for money-losing long-term care policies.
The insurance policies, which cover the cost of assisted-living or nursing care for the elderly, have turned out to require much greater payouts from insurers than was expected when the policies were written in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In January 2018, GE took a surprise $6.2bn after-tax charge and began setting aside $15bn to cover future claims from about 300,000 long-term care policies. GE has denied using fraudulent accounting to hide falling sales and profits at its power unit. It said investors were victims of “business setbacks and forecasting misses” that GE disclosed at the time. GE also said the suit failed to point out specific information it should have provided “that a reasonable investor would need to avoid being misled.” (Source: Reuters)
28 Aug 19. Corporate restructure to kickstart new fundraising program for SAS. Australian space company Sky and Space Global (SAS) has called a general meeting of shareholders to approve additional fundraising and a corporate restructure. The company said that it is a key part of its corporate, board and financial restructuring to allow the company to resume trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The meeting will be held on 27 September. SAS has been in a voluntary trading halt since April. In a notice to the ASX, SAS said the fundraising to be approved by shareholders was a $15m share placement at 1.0c per share, together with one free attaching option exercisable at $0.025, expiring on 31 July 2022, for every four shares subscribed for and issued.
Funds raised will be used to complete construction, testing and launch of the company’s first eight commercial 6U nanosatellites in mid-2020.
These already have commercial contracts in place and will generate the first material cash flow and contribute towards ongoing operating costs.
The second batch of eight commercial 6U nanosatellites is scheduled for launch in the second half of fiscal year 2020.
SAS, based in Perth, is well advanced in plans for what it calls the Pearls constellation of as many as 200 nanosatellites in equatorial orbit, providing low cost communications, data and internet services for markets in Africa, South America and Asia.
The company is proposing an additional satellite constellation, allowing full global coverage, including Australia, Russia, China, South Africa, Argentina and Canada.
SAS has experienced its fair share of problems, particularly attaining the cash needed to advance its operations.
“We are working our way through a challenging period for Sky and Space, and are very focused on securing appropriate funding while also moving forward operationally towards launch,” said SAS managing director and chief executive Meir Moalem at the end of July.
SAS said it had been working with Merchant Corporate Advisory, Jindalee Partners and Chieftain Securities as its corporate advisers for the refinancing and corporate restructuring, with planned re-quotation to the ASX on completion of the changes.
SAS said it intended to stay in voluntary suspension until the refinancing and board restructure was completed. That’s expected in the days following the shareholder meeting at the end of September. (Source: Space Connect)
26 Aug 19. Pentagon Sees ‘No Major Concerns’ With Raytheon-United Technologies Merger. The Defense Department’s top weapons buyer, Ellen Lord, gives stamp of approval to what would be the second-largest defense and aerospace company ever. The Pentagon appears unlikely to object to the blockbuster merger of Raytheon and United Technologies, a top U.S. defense official said Monday.
“There are no major concerns that I know of right now,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Monday during a press briefing at the Pentagon.
Lord, a Trump administration political appointee who serves as the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, said she has put in place new processes to evaluate mergers and acquisitions.
“It’s actually a process that I thought was a little murky on our side when I first came in,” Lord said.
When a merger or acquisition is proposed, Lord’s division reaches out to the military services to get a better idea of “what business they have with each of the two companies and whether they see any problems with limiting competition where they’re just two of them.”
“Then we partner with either the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission to step through and see if there are any issues. We’re working through that process right now,” she said, for the proposed Raytheon-UTC merger.
President Donald Trump in June appeared less than supportive of the merger, causing some speculation of its fate before Pentagon regulators.
The Pentagon could object to the merger or acquisition if officials believe the deal would give a firm a corner on the market. For example, the Justice Department required Harris Corp. to divest its night vision business before approving the firm’s merger with L3 Technologies. That’s because the merger “would eliminate competition between the only two suppliers of U.S. military-grade image intensifier tubes,” an essential component in military-grade night vision goggles and weapons sights. L3Harris Technologies, the merged company’s new name, is selling its night vision business to Elbit.
Wall Street analysts see few areas of overlap between Raytheon’s defense-heavy portfolio and United Technologies, which has more commercial business. Combined, the new firm Raytheon Technologies would become the second largest U.S. defense and aerospace firm behind Boeing.
Last year, the Trump administration did not object to Northrop Grumman acquiring Orbital ATK. The effects of that merger are being felt now as Orbital ATK is one of only two makers of solid rocket motors, the kind used by long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Northrop had been competing against Boeing to build new ICBMs that would replace the Minuteman III. But now, Boeing says it might drop out of the $85bn contest because the competition favors Northrop. Before the acquisition, Orbital ATK was part of the Boeing team vying for the contract.
Lord said the Pentagon continues “to have dialogues with Boeing.” Asked if the Pentagon would not comment about the project until the bidding window for the new ICBM closes, she said, “the [request for proposals] is out, the proposals are not in,” she said. “I’m not going to comment on that until we see what we get from proposals.” (Source: Defense One)
27 Aug 19. SatADSL, a provider of professional VSAT services, announced the completion of its capital increase and the appointment of Serge Van Herck as President of its Board of Directors. Serge Van Herck, a veteran of the satellite industry for several decades, has held positions as CEO and as board member at multiple companies and industry organizations.
“It is a great honour for me to take on this role as Chairman of SatADSL’s Board of Directors, at a time when the need for flexible and accessible satellite solutions is growing so rapidly,” said Serge Van Herck. “This capital increase will allow SatADSL to further optimize and deploy its Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering in new markets. I look forward to this new challenge, to sharing my knowledge as well as my industry insight and to take SatADSL’s unique offering to the next level.”
The capital increase, subscribed by SPDG (Société anonyme de Participation et De Gestion), the holding company of the Périer-D’Ieteren family, will provide SatADSL with the means required to accelerate the deployment of its global Points-of-Presence (PoP), reaching out to new markets and communities, delivering its solutions and extensive value added services portfolio. SatADSL also benefits from financial and collaborative support from finance&Invest.brussels, the Brussels Regional Investment Company.
SatADSL recently announced the launch of its Singapore PoP replicating its European and African models which will enable operators to access its Cloud-based Service Delivery Platform (C-SDP). SatADSL’s C-SDP is a complete operations support system/business support system (OSS/BSS), carrier-grade, fully redundant platform in the cloud, deployed as a Platform as a Service (PaaS), to allow operators to easily outsource satellite services without any upfront investment.
“This funding will allow a substantial acceleration of our international expansion in an incredibly exciting period for us,” said Thierry Eltges, CEO of SatADSL. “We are now fully equipped to bolster our expansion globally, to deliver advanced services across new regions, including hard-to-reach and previously unconnected remote locations. We plan to continue our roll-out of pre-paid voucher-based services to new markets and to operate as a Virtual Network Operator on a wider scale than before.”
Serge Van Herck was CEO at Newtec between 2006 and 2016 and, before this, worked for seven years as Head of Satellite Services at Belgacom. He served as a board member of the World Teleport Association (WTA), European Satellite Operator Association (ESOA) and Eutelsat. He also served as a board member at Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VOKA) and Belgium’s largest employers’ organization and trade association, Agoria.
21 Aug 19. Ukrainian State Holding, Chinese Firms Strike Deal to Jointly Control Motor Sich. Ukrainian state military industrial corporation Ukroboronprom and Chinese firms Skyrizon Aircraft and Xinwei Technology Group reached an agreement to jointly control Motor Sich, Interfax-Ukraine reported on Aug. 19, citing anonymous sources in the government. The Chinese firms will control a more than 50% stake in Ukraine’s largest producer of aircraft engines, and will grant USD 100 min to Ukraine’s aviation industry, while Ukroboronprom will have a more than 25% stake. The deal is yet to be approved by Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee, Interfax-Ukraine reported. A Chinese citizen who was the owner of Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment, a Chinese company, tried to purchase a stake of up to 48.8% in Motor Sich from its president Viacheslav Boguslayev in 2016, but the deal has been blocked by Ukraine’s Security Service, which also froze all Motor Sich shares from trading in April 2018. The Chinese firms were planning to construct an engine assembly plant on Chinese territory with the use of Motor Sich parts and technologies, which Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies considered to be a threat to the country’s security.
Concorde analyst Alexander Paraschiy added: “This business deal can only be welcomed by the investment community. The situation with the alleged security threats and share freeze was very strange, damaging the country’s investment image, particularly among the Chinese. It was also especially damaging for the image of Motor Sich, among the few Soviet-era military producers in Ukraine that preserved their scientific potential. Motor Sich should be able to help revive the stalled local stock market after a positive decision by the Antimonopoly Committee and redistribution of shares among Chinese and Ukrainian companies.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Ukraine Business Online)