Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
12 May 21. Government must help Denel – UASA. Government, in the form of at least three departments, should be called on to provide financial assistance for State-owned Denel given the lack of funding for any turnaround plan a Gauteng-based trade union said this week.
The call was made by Abigail Moyo speaking for the UASA (United Association of SA) and FEDUSA (Federation of Unions of SA). The labour organisations want the departments of Public Enterprises; Trade, Industry and Competition and Defence to “find financial assistance” for the defence and technology conglomerate which recently had the unfortunate appellation “decaying” added to its name by a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian.
“Denel cannot be allowed to fail as it is core to the Defence and Aerospace Masterplan adopted by government,” Moyo said in a statement.
FEDUSA secretary-general Reifdah Ajam, UASA chief executive Jacques Hugo and other union representatives discussed issues affecting UASA members and other workers at the embattled SOE with Denel acting CEO William Hlakoane and Department of Public Enterprises director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi.
UASA is hopeful engaging relevant state departments that are part of the Defence and Aerospace Masterplan will culminate in a solution for the SOE’s woes.
For the past year, Denel employees have survived on hope going on short salaries. According to Moyo Denel recently informed employees of restructuring as part of a turnaround plan.
A further discussion with organised labour is scheduled and hopefully the strategic plan will be tabled for input.
Last week, another trade union spoke out in favour of Denel continuing to operate. Solidarity, with a court order to attach Denel assets in is favour, had and wants to continue meeting Denel management to hammer out a plan that will ultimately see the DOE return to profitability.
12 May 21. MDA Ltd. Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Financial Results.
Q1 revenue increased 19.6% or $20.2m over Q1 2020 to $123.4m
* Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased 129.6% or $22.0 m over Q1 2020 to $39.1m
* Backlog(2) increased 21.7% or $122.5m over Q4 2020 to $685m
* Selected to provide one of the critical technology sub-systems on Telesat Lightspeed
* Awarded the initial contract for the Canadian Surface Combatant program
* Subsequent to the conclusion of Q1, the Company successfully completed its IPO process raising $460m to fund MDA’s robust growth agenda including execution of the recently awarded flagship programs – Canadarm3, Canadian Surface Combatant and Telesat Lightspeed
MDA Ltd. (“MDA” or the “Company”) (TSX: MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced its financial results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2021. All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.
“Q1 2021 shows positive signs with strong financial performance across all three business areas over the same period last year. Our Satellite Systems segment in particular has returned to normal operating levels and that positions us well to deliver on our growth plans,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA.
Total revenue in the three month period ended March 31, 2021 (“Q1 2021”) was $123.4m, up $20.2m or 19.6% over the same three month period ended March 31, 2020 (“Q1 2020”).
* GeoIntelligence revenue was $49.0 m in Q1 2021, $4.7m or 10.6% ahead of Q1 2020, primarily due to an increase in sales of satellite imagery and analytics services.
* Robotics and Space Operations revenue was $34.3m in Q1 2021, $8.2m or 31.4% ahead of Q1 2020, primarily due to the new Canadarm3 program and stronger program performance.
* Satellite Systems revenue in Q1 2021 was $40.1m, $7.2m or 21.9% ahead of Q1 2020, primarily due to the ramp up of activities from new contract awards in the back half of 2020.
Gross margin for Q1 2021 was 31.1% compared to 22.5% in Q1 2020. The improvement in gross margin is due to revenue growth in satellite imagery and analytics services sales and newly awarded programs, combined with improved performance on existing programs.
Operating expenses for Q1 2021 were $33.6m compared to $17.0m for Q1 2020. The change was primarily driven by the non-cash expense increases in amortization of intangible assets of $13.6m and share-based compensation of $2.6 m, both resulting from the April 2020 acquisition of MDA by Northern Private Capital.
Net research and development for Q1 2021 was $2.3m compared to $1.3m for Q1 2020, primarily driven by the ramp up in investment in the “SARnext” commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth observation satellite mission.
Adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2021 was $39.1m compared to $17.1m, attributed primarily to the increase in gross profit of $15.2 m combined with an increase in Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) income received in the quarter of $10.1m,
“We are pleased to announce our first set of quarterly results as a newly public company. With our IPO behind us, we are well capitalized to fund our strategic growth initiatives, and we see an increasing pipeline of business opportunities ahead. Our focus continues to be on successful program execution, including the three flagship programs, which will underpin our growth in the next number of years,” added Mr. Greenley.
(Source: PR Newswire)
13 May 21. TT Electronics (the “Group”), a global provider of engineered electronics for performance critical applications, publishes this trading update for the four months to the end of April 2021, ahead of the AGM taking place later today. Trading in the first four months of the year has continued to strengthen with Group revenue 7% above last year on an organic¹ basis, building on the strong start made in the first two months of the year. As the market recovers, we have seen strong growth across healthcare, automation and electrification markets as demand for products that enable a cleaner, smarter and healthier environment continues.
We continue to book orders ahead of revenue, enhancing order book visibility compared to previous years, with strength across all three divisions, although we are mindful of the potential impact on output of supply chain shortages and logistics challenges. As a result, the Board now anticipates adjusted operating profit for the full year to be towards the upper end of market expectations2.
The Torotel business, acquired in November 2020, is performing well and we have won a new multi-year contract with an existing TT aerospace and defence customer. With the cross-selling win and the pipeline of new business opportunities, Torotel is now expected to perform ahead of plan.
The Group’s ongoing self-help programme continues to progress well, supporting our plans to deliver double digit operating margins, with preparations underway for the planned site closures to improve efficiency further.
Commenting Richard Tyson, Chief Executive Officer said, “We have seen continuing good growth across our key markets and in our three divisions in the period and now anticipate our performance for the year to be towards the upper end of market expectations, reflecting our exposure to structural growth dynamics. Our strong growth, the contribution from acquisitions made in 2020, and our self-help actions give us confidence in 2021 and beyond.”
11 May 21. BMC in talks to sell Turkish shares to local steelmaker. BMC, a joint Turkish-Qatari venture that manufactures armored vehicles and tanks, is in the late stage of negotiations to sell a majority stake of Turkish shares to a Turkish steel producer, sources told Defense News.
BMC is producing the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous next-generation battle tank.
BMC’s Turkish shares are owned by Turkish businessmen Ethem Sancak and Talip Öztürk, both of whom are close aides to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sancak previously was a senior official at Erdo?an’s Justice and Development Party.
Sancak-Öztürk will sell 51 percent of their shares to Tosyal? Holding, a leading iron and steel producer, which also has close ties to Erdo?an. Tosyal? operates three facilities on three continents and produces six million tons of steel annually. The company employs over 10,000 people. Its other business interests include maritime, port operation, foreign trade and power generation.
“The parties have come close to finaliz[ing] this deal. They are presently [negotiating] final financial details,” one senior BMC official told Defense News.
Based on 2020 defense revenue, BMC ranked 89th in the Defense News Top 100 annual rankings with the equivalent of about $533m dollars.
After failing to win German export licenses for a power pack that would include the engine and transmission for the Altay, BMC recently agreed to receive the technical know-how, through Hyundai Rotem, with two South Korean defense technology firms: engine-maker Doosan and S&T Dynamics, which produces automatic transmissions.
Turkey had hoped to power the Altay with the German MTU engine and RENK transmission, but talks with German manufacturers in recent years failed due to a federal arms embargo on Turkey. Germany is one of several European governments that have limited exports to Turkey over its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Company sources said the tests to determine whether the South Korean’s plan will fit into the Altay would take several months. The Turkish government was originally hoping to put the Altay into the army’s inventory in 2020.
The multi-billion dollar Altay contract involves the production of an initial batch of 250 units, life-cycle logistical support, and the establishment by the contractor of a tank systems technology center and its operation. As part of the contract, BMC will design, develop and produce a tank with an unmanned fire control unit.
The Altay program is broken into two phases: T1 and T2. T1 covers the first 250 units, and T2 involves the advanced version of the tank. Turkey also plans to eventually produce 1,000 Altays, to be followed by an unmanned version.
The deal has proved politically controversy, particularly after the Erdogan administration leased for free a military-owned tank and turret factory by the Marmara Sea to BMC for a period of 25 years.
11 May 21. Aerodyne Welcomes Japanese Investment. Aerodyne Group, a global drone services company headquartered in Cyberjaya, Malaysia announced that it has welcomed Real Tech Fund, KOBASHI HOLDINGS, and ACSL as strategic partners. Aerodyne Group is a DT3 (Drone Tech, Data Tech, and Digital Transformation) drone-based enterprise solutions provider, and a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence as an enabling technology for large-scale data operations, analytics and process optimization with presence in 35 countries.
This strategic partnership with the consortium of Japanese investors comprising Real Tech Fund, a deep tech focused venture capital fund, KOBASHI HOLDINGS, one of the top agriculture companies in Japan and ACSL, a company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange specializing in drone manufacturing and drone related hardware is set to propel Aerodyne’s latest engine of growth in the agriculture space called Agrimor in the ASEAN region. In addition, these companies with their depth of technology and agriculture experience and history in the Japanese market will underpin Aerodyne’s core business growth in Japan.
In South East Asia, plantation agriculture such as rice, palm oil, and pineapple are major industries but farming methods are often labour-intensive, and have high environmental impact. There is tremendous potential for improving efficiency and productivity, and Aerodyne’s Agrimor service enables data-driven precision agriculture by using drones to monitor crop health and in turn increasing productivity and harvest yield, benefiting farmers, agriculture landowners and ultimately the economy of the host country. The company is currently running pilot projects with several of the largest farm landowners in Malaysia and plans to expand the service to India, Indonesia and Thailand after 2022.
Since its establishment in 2014, Aerodyne has been developing an integrated drone service solution that enables faster, competitively priced, higher quality, and safer infrastructure inspection and monitoring. Aerodyne’s solutions have been deployed and is currently being used by various industry leaders such as a Malaysian-based FORTUNE Global 500 oil and gas company, the largest listed power company in Southeast Asia as well as the largest port owner in the UK.
Kamarul A Muhamed, founder and Group CEO of Aerodyne said, “We welcome our new strategic partners and look forward to an exciting journey together. This strategic partnership with Real Tech Fund, KOBASHI HOLDINGS and ACSL will enable Aerodyne to leverage on a whole suite of expertise from this consortium to significantly enhance our value proposition in the agriculture space, solidify our foothold and unlock further opportunities in Japan, as well as expanding the breadth and depth of our technology suites. In particular, Real Tech Fund’s philosophy to support innovative R & D technology that advances humanity through technology mirrors our own approach.”
Akitaka Wilhelm Fujii, President of Real Tech Holdings, acting as the lead of the consortium of strategic partners said, “We are extremely excited to announce this new strategic partnership with Aerodyne. We believe that their drone solutions will hugely benefit society and the environment by providing people with access to affordable and resilient infrastructure, driving sustainable agriculture, reducing last mile delivery costs, and so forth. Through this partnership, we hope to boost Aerodyne’s business growth and market positioning in Japan and beyond.”
Shojiro Kobashi], President and CEO of KOBASHI HOLDINGS commented,
“We expect that Aerodyne’s drone solution will greatly contribute to the widespread of sustainable agriculture by improving the yield and quality of crops and reducing the burden on the environment and farmers. With the resources we have cultivated as an agricultural machinery manufacturer, we will support Aerodyne’s entry into the agricultural field and Japanese market, lead the next future of Agritech, and contribute to the evolution of Japanese agriculture.”
Satoshi Washiya, President & COO of ACSL commented, “Aerodyne’s established position as a drone service provider is very attractive to ACSL. Since November 2020, Aerodyne and ACSL have been cooperating on drone flight tests through collaborating with Aerodyne Japan. Aerodyne is playing an important role in ACSL drone development. By further strengthening the collaboration between the two companies through this investment, we expect that the social implementation of drones will become even more advanced.” (Source: UAS VISION)
11 May 21. Innovusion Raises $64m USD in Series B Financing. Funding will be used to boost the production and adoption of LiDARs for automakers. Innovusion, a worldwide leader in the design and development of image-grade LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems, has successfully raised $64m USD in Series B Financing, funded by Temasek, BAI Capital, and Joy Capital. Existing investors NIO Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, and F-Prime Capital also participated in the round. The funding will be used to increase the production capabilities of its automotive-grade LiDARs, support supply-chain partners for mass production capabilities, and further expand Innovusion’s research and development efforts around advanced LiDAR Technologies.
Innovusion’s products are widely used across autonomous vehicles, smart cities, high-speed rail transit systems, and have been recognized by clients as a top performer. With the mission of empowering safer and smarter mobility, the company is dedicated to LiDAR technology research, product safety, and efficient cost structures.
“As autonomous driving technology matures, more and more producers of electric vehicles will choose front-mounted LiDARs as key components in their perception solutions. Innovusion’s LiDAR is recognized as an industry leader given its performance and feasibility for mass production.” Said Ian Zhu, Managing Partner of Nio Capital. “With ample opportunity for future growth, we are very confident that Innovusion will stay at the forefront of LiDAR technology, autonomous driving, and on the road.”
In January 2021, NIO announced ET7, its first vehicle with full-stack autonomous driving capabilities, scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022. The vehicle is equipped with an image-grade ultra-long-range LiDAR developed jointly by Innovusion and NIO, a key component of ET7’s NIO Autonomous Driving (NAD) system. A model application in the field of autonomous driving, the LiDAR has a 120-degree horizontal viewing angle, ultra-high resolution, and the industry’s longest detection range, capable of “seeing” up to 500 meters. Innovusion’s unique “flexible gaze” function generates a more detailed three-dimensional point-of-view to better track vehicles and pedestrians while simultaneously maintaining high-resolution across the entire field of view, even in low-light conditions.
“I am optimistic about LiDAR’s role in the future of autonomous driving and automaker’s adoption of LiDARs for their autonomous vehicles during the assembly process. According to the Yole report, the autonomous driving LiDAR market is expected to reach $1.7bn by 2025. In addition, the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) market for smart transportation will also have huge room for growth for LiDARs.” Said Junwei Bao, Co-founder and CEO of Innovusion. “As a Silicon Valley company growing rapidly in both US and China, I am very pleased to have so many well-known global investment institutions participate in our Series B financing round.”
As a global leader in mass-produced LiDAR products, Innovusion is empowering the evolution of autonomous driving technologies as well as the development of smart connected cars and smart cities. Innovusion’s image-grade long-range lidar provides a complete perception and road management solution for smart cities and smart highways worldwide. It has been a key building block in Baidu’s successful deployment of Apollo Intelligent Transportation City projects across major cities like Beijing, Changsha, Cangzhou and other places.
Innovusion was founded in 2016 and has core development teams in Sunnyvale, California and Suzhou, China. It is the world’s leader in image-quality, long-range LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor systems for autonomous driving markets. It successfully concluded its $30m Series A round in 2018 led by Nio Capital, with participation from Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Banyan Capital. Alongside Singapore-headquartered investment company Temasek, BAI Capital and China’s TMT-focused venture capital firm Joy Capital, the Series B round brings Innovusion’s total funding to over $100m USD. Please visit us on the web at www.innovusion.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 May 21. TransDigm Group Reports Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Results. TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE: TDG), a leading global designer, producer and supplier of highly engineered aircraft components, today reported results for the second quarter ended April 3, 2021, which were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Second quarter highlights include:
* Net sales of $1,194m, down 17.3% from $1,443m in the prior year’s quarter;
* Income from continuing operations of $105m;
* Earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.79;
* EBITDA As Defined margin of 43.5%, representing sequential improvement;
* EBITDA As Defined of $519m;
* Adjusted earnings per share of $2.58; and
* Positive operating cash flow generation of $98m.
Fiscal 2021 financial guidance remains suspended at this time.
Net sales for the quarter declined 17.3%, or $249m, to $1,194m from $1,443m in the comparable quarter a year ago. Acquisition sales growth over the comparable quarter a year ago was $43m, primarily attributable to Cobham Aero Connectivity.
Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $105m, a decrease of 67.5% compared to $323m in the comparable quarter a year ago. The decrease in income from continuing operations primarily reflects the decline in net sales described above, along with higher one-time refinancing costs, interest expense, COVID-19 restructuring costs and effective tax rate, partially offset by a gain recorded on the settlement of an insurance claim.
Adjusted net income for the quarter decreased 48.3% to $151m, or $2.58 per share, from $292m, or $5.10 per share, in the comparable quarter a year ago.
EBITDA for the quarter decreased 29.8% to $464 m from $661m for the comparable quarter a year ago. EBITDA As Defined for the period decreased 23.1% to $519m compared with $675m in the comparable quarter a year ago. EBITDA As Defined as a percentage of net sales for the quarter was 43.5%.
“The commercial aerospace industry has continued to show signs of recovery in recent months with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and increasing air traffic, especially in certain domestic markets. We also saw another quarter of strong sequential improvement in our commercial bookings. These trends are encouraging and although the pace of the recovery is uncertain, we remain ready to meet the demand as it returns,” stated Kevin Stein, TransDigm Group’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Additionally, I am very pleased that we continue to sequentially expand our EBITDA As Defined margin as a result of careful management of our cost structure and focus on our operating strategy in this challenging commercial environment.”
During the quarter, TransDigm completed the acquisition of Cobham Aero Connectivity (“CAC”) for an enterprise value of $965m, with the majority of the acquisition first closing on January 5, 2021, and the remainder (a Finland-based facility) completing on February 12, 2021. CAC is a leading provider of highly engineered antennas and radios for the aerospace end market.
On March 1, 2021, TransDigm announced the sale of its ScioTeq and TREALITY Simulation Visual Systems businesses to OpenGate Capital for approximately $200m. ScioTeq and TREALITY were acquired by TransDigm in March 2019 as part of the Esterline Technologies acquisition. The sale is expected to be completed during the third quarter of fiscal 2021.
Financing Activity Subsequent to the Quarter
On April 21, 2021, TransDigm successfully completed a private offering of $750m of 4.875% senior subordinated notes due 2029. TransDigm expects to use the net proceeds from the offering, plus cash on hand, to redeem all of its $750m of outstanding 6.50% senior subordinated notes due 2025.
Net sales for the twenty-six week period ended April 3, 2021 declined 20.9%, or $607m, to $2,301m from $2,908m in the comparable period a year ago. Acquisition sales growth over the comparable period a year ago was $43m, primarily attributable to Cobham Aero Connectivity.
Income from continuing operations for the twenty-six week period ended April 3, 2021 was $155m, a decrease of 72.1% compared to $556m in the comparable period a year ago. The decrease in income from continuing operations primarily reflects the decline in net sales described above, along with higher COVID-19 restructuring costs, interest expense and non-cash stock compensation expense, partially offset by a gain recorded on the settlement of an insurance claim.
GAAP earnings per share were reduced in fiscal 2021 and 2020 by $1.24 per share and $3.22 per share, respectively, as a result of dividend equivalent payments made during each year. As a reminder, GAAP earnings per share are reduced when TransDigm makes dividend equivalent payments pursuant to the Company’s stock option plans. These dividend equivalent payments are made during the Company’s first fiscal quarter each year and also upon payment of any special dividends.
Adjusted net income for the twenty-six week period ended April 3, 2021 decreased 53.7% to $266m, or $4.55 per share, from $575m, or $10.03 per share, in the comparable period a year ago.
EBITDA for the twenty-six week period ended April 3, 2021 decreased 33.8% to $842m from $1,271m for the comparable period a year ago. EBITDA As Defined for the period decreased 26.8% to $993 m compared with $1,356 m in the comparable quarter a year ago. EBITDA As Defined as a percentage of net sales for the current period was 43.2%.
Please see the attached tables for a reconciliation of income from continuing operations to EBITDA, EBITDA As Defined, and adjusted net income; a reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities to EBITDA and EBITDA As Defined, and a reconciliation of earnings per share to adjusted earnings per share for the periods discussed in this press release.
Fiscal 2021 Outlook
Given the considerable uncertainty around the extent and duration of business disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how that will continue to impact operations, the Company will not provide fiscal year 2021 guidance at this time. (Source: PR Newswire)
11 May 21. Endeavour Announces Strategic Partnership with MassChallenge. Partnership with the noted global network of innovators positions Endeavour as key source of non-dilutive capital for early-stage US Defense and Aerospace entrepreneurs. ENDEAVOUR, a leading Department of Defense Trusted Capital Provider of Accounts Receivable Funding for National Security and Space government contractors, has formed a strategic partnership with MassChallenge, the highly-regarded non-profit, zero-equity accelerator network dedicated to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship through collaboration and development.
Beginning with MassChallenge’s Air Force Lab, Space Commercialization and Safety and Security programs, the new partnership enables Endeavour to provide past, present, and future MassChallenge alumni access to a custom Accounts Receivable Funding facility deemed “Escape Velocity”. Designed for innovative early-stage and growing technology companies, Escape Velocity was developed to further support the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and the burgeoning commercial space industry.
“MassChallenge’s connectivity, particularly within the US Air Force’s AFWERX program, will help Endeavour expand our footprint as we look to capitalize on the growing demand for our working capital management tools,” said Endeavour Co-founder James Parker.
“MassChallenge has accelerated 2,900 startups, that have generated $3.6bn in revenue and raised $8.6bn in funding. Most importantly, their alumni have generated over 186,000 jobs, all while tackling the biggest challenges of our time. This partnership is another step in our roadmap to growing our leadership position in the market and ensuring that our industry-best solutions are in the hands of all those who are working in the service of National Security,” added Endeavour Co-founder Chris Lay.
Endeavour is a financial services platform supporting US Federal Government contractors. As an official Department of Defense Trusted Capital Provider, Endeavour offers cash funding for unpaid invoices up to $10,000,000. The company can help companies improve their working capital position to help finance growth strategies and manage operating expenses.
Additionally, Endeavour contributes 50% of net profits to Mission Oriented charitable causes. Learn more about ENDEAVOUR at www.endeavourar.com.
MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,900 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $8.6bn in funding, generated more than $3.6bn in revenue, and created more than 186,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at masschallenge.org. (Source: PR Newswire)
11 May 21. Delta Drone Draws Down €1m of Nominal Value. In accordance with the authority granted to the Board of Directors by the Extraordinary General Shareholders’ meeting of Delta Drone dated 24 April 2020 pursuant to its sixth resolution, the Board of Directors dated 14th October 2020:
* approved the principle of issuing 2 500 tranche warrants, giving access to 2 500 bonds redeemable in cash and/or new shares (the “ORNAN”) with share subscription warrants attached upon exercise, to the investment fund YA II PN, LTD (the “Investor”), a fund managed by the US management company Yorkville Advisors, representing a financing of up to €10M of aggregate nominal value; and
* empowered the Chairman and CEO to decide to launch this transaction, to approve its final terms and conditions, to issue the Tranche Warrants and to drawdown the tranches of ORNAN with Warrants attached.
Pursuant to the sub-delegation of authority granted to him by the Board of Directors on 28 April 2020, the CEO decided today to drawdown two tranches of ORNAN with Warrants attached.
The main characteristics of the Tranche Warrants, ORNAN and Warrants (the terms and conditions of which are available in detail on the Company’s website under the « Investors » tab have been presented in a press release dated 14 October 2020.
In accordance with the financing agreement entered into on 14 October 2020 with the Investor, two tranches of ORNAN with Warrants attached of €1m of nominal value has been drawdown today, corresponding to the issuance of 200 ORNAN with 43 478 260 Warrants attached. (Source: UAS VISION)
11 May 21. Virgin Galactic ‘evaluating’ timeline for next flight test, shares drop. Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) said on Monday it was evaluating the timing of its next flight test, sending shares down 9.4% in extended trade.
“Following Eve’s last post slide inspection, we tagged a potential wear and tear issue as requiring further evaluation and analysis to see if any additional action is necessary,” said Michael Moses, president of the company’s space missions & safety, on a post earnings conference call.
“We continue to make strides towards our strategic objectives and have solid momentum as we focus on completing our flight test program,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said in a statement.
Virgin Galactic, which delayed its quarterly results by about a week, said total future astronauts remained at about 600, as of March 31. It also posted a first-quarter loss of $130m, compared to a $377m net loss last year. (Source: Reuters)
10 May 21. OneWeb to Acquire TrustComm and Create New Government Subsidiary. OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Texas-based TrustComm Inc., which will enable OneWeb to offer its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) network and connectivity services to U.S. government clients and TrustComm customers. Based at the highly secure Ellington Joint Base in Houston, Texas, TrustComm was established in 1999 as a provider of managed satellite communications and professional services to commercial organizations and governments. TrustComm offers services ranging from broadband Internet access, VoIP and voice, video conferencing and data communications for business continuity to emergency response, tactical field deployment and temporary use.
“OneWeb’s acquisition of TrustComm underpins our strategy to rapidly scale satellite communications service to the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies as they look to integrate high throughput, low latency solutions to meet new connectivity demands,” said OneWeb’s Head of Government Services Dylan Browne. “We are excited to have TrustComm join our team and leverage their strong reputation providing the remote communications our customers want, particularly in Alaska and the Arctic.”
Under the terms of the agreement, a newly acquired proxy subsidiary of OneWeb will be led by TrustComm CEO Bob Roe and focus on introducing OneWeb’s enterprise grade network services to customers. Terms of the transaction are confidential, and it is expected to close in 2021, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.
“The TrustComm team is thrilled to be joining OneWeb at the dawn of this new era of satcom services. TrustComm’s heritage and customer-focused support teams will enable us to expand the portfolio of services we offer and allow us to pursue new opportunities. This is an exciting development and we look forward to taking our government business to new heights in the coming year,” said Roe.
OneWeb will offer DoD and other government clients a new suite of services with network speeds up to 195 Mbps, lower latency, smaller and more compact multi-orbit user terminals and built-in network management tools providing substantial economic savings over traditional GEO sales models.
The acquisition follows the successful demonstration of OneWeb’s turnkey satellite-based communications system to the DoD in March of 2021, with data rates up to 500Mbps at latency levels as low as 32ms. The demonstration also illustrated the seamless handover of connectivity between multiple LEO satellites as they passed overhead.
Designed to provide organizations and governments with truly global and resilient connectivity services, OneWeb’s solution will feature a network of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, global gateways and air, maritime and land user terminals. In late 2021, OneWeb will begin providing commercial services across the Arctic and expanding to global coverage in 2022. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 May 21. Proxy adviser ISS recommends vote against Leonardo CEO liability action. Proxy adviser ISS recommended on Monday that Leonardo (LDOF.MI) shareholders vote against a liability action promoted by activist investor Bluebell against the Italian defence group’s CEO citing “the absence of a sufficiently compelling rationale”.
Last year CEO Alessandro Profumo was sentenced in the first instance to six years imprisonment for false accounting in his previous role as chairman of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI).
Bluebell Partners, which owns 25 shares of Leonardo, said it wanted to propose the action and ask for damages stemming from the conviction in a letter to the defence group’s chairman dated April 28.
ISS said there was no ground to remove Profumo from his role and undertake any legal action against him as the sentence could still be overturned by the courts in the second or third instance.
In October, Leonardo backed Profumo saying “conditions did not exist” for him to resign.
But the proxy adviser also said Leonardo had omitted to provide information on Bluebell’s proposal sufficiently in advance of the first call of the general meeting, scheduled on Monday.
The shareholder meeting is expected to be held on its second call, on May 19. (Source: Reuters)
03 May 21. Marlink Group Completes The Acquisition Of ITC Global. On Friday, April 30, Marlink Group closed the transaction of acquiring ITC Global, thereby strengthening the company’s position as a global leader in business-critical smart network and digital enablement solutions for customer’s remote operations.
The acquisition, backed by Apax Partners sas, marks another milestone in the company’s M&A strategy. Within the Marlink Group, ITC Global will focus on Energy and high-end customers who need specific and complex managed network solutions. ITC Global is also further extending the Group’s global footprint with its strong presence in the US, the UK and Australia.
The Marlink Group, now with ITC Global as an integral part, has very strong momentum in all its businesses and has repeatedly outperformed the market both commercially and financially. With the support of its investors, Marlink Group will continue to pursue its selective and successful M&A strategy to further develop and expand its growth potential.
Erik Ceuppens, CEO of the Marlink Group, said, “ITC Global is an important cornerstone of the Marlink Group and it is an essential part of the business as we expand our global leadership position in the Energy and Mining sectors. Importantly, we are also enhancing the Group’s capabilities, building a unique portfolio of innovative and fully managed smart network solutions that is driving the digital transformation of our customers’ remote operations.”
Ian Dawkins, CEO of ITC Global, said, “Our timing is perfect. The global economy is picking up fast, which means our customers’ businesses are progressing rapidly. They need the very best communications for their remote operations, both to run the business and for their people. As part of the Marlink Group, we’re leading the development of the technology and services that are already transforming what businesses can do when further digitalizing their operations.” (Source: Satnews)
05 May 21. Firefly Aerospace Now Valued @ $1bn+ After Close Of Series A Financing. Firefly Aerospace has successfully completed their Series A financing. The $75m Series A, which valued the company at greater than $1bn, was led by DADA Holdings, with participation by Astera Institute, Canon Ball LLC, Reuben Brothers Limited, SMS Capital Investment LLC, Raven One Ventures, The XBTO Ventures and other investors.
Interest in the Series A round far exceeded the $75m equity being offered. In an effort to satisfy the overwhelming demand in the Series A round, Firefly’s seed investor, Noosphere Ventures, sold approximately $100m of its holdings of Firefly equity to certain Series A participants and other investors through secondary transactions. Following the forthcoming launch of its flagship Alpha small launch vehicle, Firefly intends to raise an additional $300m later in 2021 to fund its ambitious growth plans through 2025.
Firefly has previously announced multiple commercial and civil Alpha launch contracts with customers including NASA and General Atomics. Firefly was recently awarded a $93.3m NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract to deliver 10 science payloads to the surface of the Moon in 2023 using its Blue Ghost lunar lander. Firefly is completing preparations for the inaugural launch of its Alpha launch vehicle from Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2).
Firefly’s CEO Dr. Tom Markusic stated, “It is gratifying to see such strong investor interest that far exceeded our near-term funding goal of $75M. Firefly is excited to welcome our new partners, prior to our inaugural launch of Alpha. Post launch we will embark on a second, larger round, that will enable Firefly to execute fully its business plan of new spacecraft and launch vehicle development. With our recent major contract wins and the arrival of new, strong financial partners, 2021 is proving to be a breakout year for Firefly.” (Source: Satnews)
10 May 21. Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. Acquires Majority Stake of X.O. Markets, Parent of Nanoracks. Voyager edges closer to cementing itself as the leading NewSpace exploration platform with addition of commercial space services
Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration, today announced it has acquired a majority stake in X.O. Markets and its largest subsidiary, Nanoracks, the world’s leading provider of commercial space services. In Dec. 2020, Voyager announced its intent to acquire majority control of the company through the infusion of growth capital and with today’s closing, adds industry leading commercial space services to its list of vertically integrated NewSpace capabilities.
“In the last year, the space industry has undergone a rapid evolution with demand for commercial space services reaching record highs,” said Dylan Taylor, Chairman and CEO and of Voyager Space Holdings. “Innovative companies like Nanoracks are continuing to drive this transformation forward with first-of-their-kind technologies like the Bishop Airlock. We look forward to working with Jeffrey and his team as Nanoracks continues to push the envelope of what’s possible in the years to come, while benefiting from the full support of our integrated model.”
Nanoracks has launched over 1,000 projects to the International Space Station, including the first ever permanent commercial addition, The Bishop Airlock, on the SpaceX CRS-21 mission. The company is also actively working toward its long-term Outpost Program, which will enable Nanoracks to own, operate and leverage commercial space stations. As NASA continues to encourage private companies to take over operations in low-Earth orbit, the Outpost Program marks significant progress toward the development of a robust market for space stations built on public and private partnerships.
“Our goal at Nanoracks has always been to develop in-space services and technology that will commercially transform life on Earth and in space,” said Jeffrey Manber, CEO and co-founder of Nanoracks. “It’s been an incredible honor to have been the first commercial company on the ISS, and with Voyager’s support, I am excited to continue to achieve many more firsts as we move into the era of private space stations.”
Voyager continues to make major strides, recently appointing industry veteran and former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to chair its Advisory Board and completing its acquisition of The Launch Company. Voyager also strengthened its Board of Directors, adding former undersecretary of technology Dr. Cheryl Shavers, experienced technology executive, board director, and financial leader Marian Joh, and former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord.
For more information on Voyager please visit: https://voyagerspaceholdings.com/
About Voyager Space Holdings, Inc.
Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. is a global leader in space exploration. Voyager’s long-term mission is to create a vertically integrated publicly traded NewSpace company capable of delivering any mission humans can conceive. Voyager is led by founders and space industry veterans Dylan Taylor and Matthew Kuta, with a Board of Directors that includes National Security Expert and four-star Air Force General William Shelton, leading investor Gabe Finke, world-leading planetary Scientist, Dr. Alan Stern, noted public company director and former undersecretary of technology Dr. Cheryl Shavers, experienced technology executive, board director, and financial leader, Marian Joh, and former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord. To learn more about Voyager Space Holdings, Inc., please visit: http://voyagerspaceholdings.com/
Nanoracks LLC, an XO Markets company, is the world’s leading provider of commercial space services. Nanoracks believes commercial space utilization will enable innovation through in-space manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, fiber optics – and more, allow for revolutionary Earth observation, and make space a key player in finding the solution to Earth’s problems.
Today, the company offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to the most pressing needs for satellite deployment, basic and educational research, and more – in over 30 nations worldwide. Nanoracks’ future goals are focused on the re-purposing of the upper stages of launch vehicles in-space and converting these structures into commercial habitats, both humanly and robotically tended, throughout the solar system.
XO Markets, the world’s first commercial space holding company, includes Nanoracks LLC, Nanoracks UAE, and wholly owned subsidiaries DreamUp and Nanoracks Space Outpost Europe (Nanoracks-Europe). (Source: PR Newswire)
TCI International, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPX Corporation. TCI provides turn-key solutions for spectrum management and monitoring, direction finding, geolocation and communications intelligence to civilian, government, military and intelligence agencies as well as antennas for communications and high-power radio broadcasting. TCI is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA. For more information, visit www.tcibr.com.