Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
17 Jun 21. AVIC announces further streamlining. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has announced further restructuring as part of ongoing efforts to streamline its business and concentrate on its core capabilities.
The state-owned defence-aerospace group announced on 15 June that it has agreed to transfer its AVIC Resources business to the Chinese government’s largest investment holding company, the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC).
AVIC Resources operates as a subsidiary of AVIC International and, according to the group, is focused on the “investment and development of agriculture-related resources business” including minerals and mining. AVIC said the subsidiary will be integrated into a similar business operated by SDIC. AVIC said the transfer of AVIC Resources would be “free of charge”. It added that the deal is aligned with its aim to “deepen reforms, focus on its main business, and enhance its industrial competitiveness”. In recent years AVIC has similarly withdrawn from other businesses deemed non-core including shipbuilding and automotive manufacturing. In 2020 AVIC’s revenue and profits were CNY468.5bn (USD72.3bn) and CNY15.6bn, representing year-on-year increases of 1.5% and 16% respectively. The value of its assets was about USD145bn. (Source: Jane’s)
17 June 21. New Patria unites its capabilities. Patria’s new growth strategy Horizon 2025 aims at ambitious growth by the end of year 2025. In order to utilise all opportunities Patria has decided to take into use a new operating model supporting the growth strategy on 1.1.2022. The related group-wide cooperation negotiations have been finalised with an outstanding cooperation between the personnel groups and the company.
New operating model
The new operating model aims at developing customer-centricity as well as strengthening operational efficiency and financial result in order to keep Patria’s reliable, cost efficient life cycle support services and products in focus in maintaining customer fleet’s required performance in all conditions also in the future.
In the new operating model Patria’s target is to be a customer-centric market builder utilising all Patria people’s competences comprehensively. The current model with its business units (excl. Millog) will be dissolved and a unified model consisting of strong core functions – Finland, Global, Portfolio and Operations – will be created instead:
- Finland Division will be responsible for the Finnish accounts with focus on the Finnish Defence Forces. Finland consists of four business areas: Air force, Army, Navy and Joint & Security.
- Global Division will be responsible for accounts outside Finland. Global consists of four market areas: Nordics, Europe, USA and World.
- Portfolio will be responsible for products and services as well as their development and sales support, consisting of six product and service lines: Fleet Availability, Life cycle management, Training & User Support, C5ISTAR, Mission Capability, New Products and Services.
- Operations will be responsible for production and supply chain consisting of three production lines: Air operations, Land operations and System & Integration operations.
Millog continues as a Patria Group company with current structure cooperating with the other Patria functions.
Common support functions support these core functions. This whole entity is led by Patria Management Team headed by the President and CEO.
New organisation will be published, and nominations implemented gradually level by level. Now, a new management team has been appointed starting with the new composition in the beginning of 2022:
Patria Management Team consists of the following reporting to the President and CEO Esa Rautalinko:
- Finland Division, Executive Vice President Jussi Järvinen
- Global Division, Executive Vice President Jukka Holkeri
- Portfolio Unit, Executive Vice President Jonas Geust
- Operations Unit, Executive Vice President – will appointed later
- Head of HX Programme Petri Hepola
- Chief Financial Officer Ville Jaakonsalo
- Chief Legal Officer Ara Haikarainen
- Chief Human Resources Officer Leena Olkkonen
In the cooperation negotiations it was estimated that the change will affect some 370 people. The transformation is not seeking personnel reductions, which means that everyone will be offered a position, either current or a new one. Transformation offers diverse learning and growth opportunities for Patria personnel.
“The cornerstones of Patria’s growth strategy are customer-centricity, innovation, working together and efficiency. Ensuring and developing the security of supply in Finland continues to be Patria’s mission and Finland will be our focus market area also in the future. Additionally, we have recognised significant growth opportunities outside Finland and in new customer segments. Internationally competitive and financially developing Patria will be able to provide its customers solutions improving cost-efficiency and performance and securing our mission in Finland at the same time”, states Esa Rautalinko, President and CEO.
18 Jun 21. India’s Ordnance Factory Board to be split into seven companies. The Indian Cabinet has approved a proposal to restructure the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a network of 41 defence factories, into seven corporate entities.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on 17 June that the approval was an “historic decision” that will support India’s national security objectives as well as its efforts to achieve self-reliance in defence production.
Under the plan, the OFB factories will be split across seven state-owned companies, grouped into capability themes. These will comprise: ammunition and explosives; vehicles; weapons and equipment; troop comfort items (including uniforms and other apparel); opto-electronics; parachutes; and ancillary products.
The corporate entities are expected to be formed later this year. Each will be independently managed, with a target to increase productivity and competitiveness (including in export markets), and become profitable. Future stock market listings are also a possibility.
The OFB corporatisation plan had been under consideration for nearly two decades but was finally agreed to by the government in 2020. To support the restructure, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) set up a group of ministers – led by Singh – with a remit to draft a proposal to “convert the OFB into one or more than one 100%-government-owned corporate entities”.
However, the move has been met with fierce opposition by trade unions, who see the corporatisation of the OFB – India’s oldest defence-industrial enterprise – as the first step towards job losses for its 82,000-strong workforce.
In recent years, the unions have held several strikes to protest against the move and now plan to meet again on 20 June to discuss additional work stoppages.
15 June 21. Remote-Controlled Robotics Innovator Telexistence Closes $20m Series A-2 Round. Airbus Ventures announces its latest investment in Telexistence, Inc., a leading innovator in remote-controlled robotics with artificial intelligence that has closed a $20m Series A-2 financing round led by a group company of Monoful Inc. and comprising additional funds from KDDI, Deepcore, UTokyo IPC, and multiple new investors. Telexistence has raised about $41m to date, since the company’s inception in 2017.
“As we rethink and transform the basic meaning of ‘existence,’ we are actively expanding our in-house engineering team, accelerating product development, and upscaling deployment to the company’s growing customer base in offline retail and logistics,” explains Jin Tomioka, Telexistence CEO and co-Founder. “This funding signals a new chapter, and we are excited to welcome new partners, still more grateful than ever for Airbus Ventures, our lead Series A investor in 2018, and their mentorship and dedication to our mission.”
Materializing a vision of a more connected humanity interacting and evolving across multiple spatial and temporal scales, Telexistence releases humans from physical constraints utilizing Telexistence® technology, robotics, telecommunication, VR, haptics, and AI. In July 2020, the company unveiled Telexistence’s Model-T Robot.
“Telexistence is accelerating its now proven capacity to bring future trends and anticipated technologies into reach, and fuse them into practical reality in the here and now. Where AI and human intelligence each on their own could not achieve practical robot operations across time and space, Telexistence makes their combination work, with the connectivity capabilities to now make important contributions to logistics applications and a host of new possibilities ahead,” remarks Dr. Lewis Pinault, Airbus Ventures Partner in Tokyo. “Jin and this brilliantly creative, internationally diversified team now benefit from an even stronger collective through our co-investors, whose outstanding expertise across logistics, telecom, and AI are set to build key elements of a more fully connected and newly realized society to tackle the challenges of our planet.”
In October 2021, Telexistence will join forces with FamilyMart Co., Ltd, in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, to help advance operational infrastructure through robotics. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
15 June 21. Ion-Propulsion Powered Drone Company Undefined Technologies Completes Seed Funding Round. Undefined Technologies Corp, a Florida-based tech startup working on the first silent eVTOL drone powered by ion propulsion, announced that it has completed its Seed Series funding with a valuation just shy of $2m.
This round was led by Dresden Capital Partners Fund, Ltd., with participation from Rio Vista Advisors, Inc., Biscayne Bay Advisors LLC, and Thunder Road Properties, L.P. With the additional capital infusion, Undefined Technologies moves closer to completing the commercial development of their ion propulsion drone.
“We are incredibly excited about this support from our current and new investors who help us advance our novel technology and achieve our ambitious goals,” says Tomas Pribanic, Founder and CEO of the company. “The new funding clearly illustrates investor confidence in the disruptive role of our innovation for the urban cargo delivery market.”
Last April, the company, newly incorporated in Delaware, had a successful first mission flight of a drone powered by ion propulsion. The fully electric technology uses innovative physics principles which work not only in the vacuum of space, free from the earth’s gravitational pull, but also in atmospheric conditions with ‘unprecedented’ levels of thrust up to 3X more than existing ion thruster technologies.
The novel technology, backed by the University of Miami, will generate noise levels below 70 decibels, which would fall under the threshold established by several county noise ordinances. In addition, ionic propulsion produces zero carbon emissions, allowing this high-powered system to be utilized without harming the environment. The process uses a high-voltage electric field to ionize the air molecules in the atmosphere, which then naturally return to their original state after ionization.
“As major goods delivery companies accelerate the deployment of drones in urban areas, we will see higher demand for autonomously operated drones that comply with federal and county regulations and ordinances. Undefined Technologies has established itself as the disruptive company in this category. We’re excited to continue to invest in this magical combination of breakthrough technologies, exceptional vision, and an incredible team,” said investor Scott Dresden.
“Ion propulsion technologies also offer unique opportunities in generating silent thrust, zero emissions, and will inevitably affect industries vertically and horizontally across sectors enhancing the addressable market dramatically. The challenge is fascinating and achievable from many other perspectives including the creation, storage, inversion, and thermodynamically efficient transmission and dissipation of energy. From the moment we met Tomas Pribanic and his team and through a rigorous diligence process, we knew this was going to be a company that challenges paradigms and exceeds expectations through proven scientific inquiry and methodology to the benefit of innovative accomplishments in the engineering sciences”
Undefined Technologies, in partnership with the University of Miami, is developing a silent cargo drone powered by ion propulsion aimed to disrupt urban cargo delivery. The novel Air Tantrum technology creates a technical and commercial opportunity for ion thrusters to become a viable electric propulsion option. With this innovative technology, noise levels below 70 decibels will be reached, complying with the noise restrictions established by major county ordinances throughout the country. Undefined Technologies is exploring the possibility of using drones for various supply chain activities, including delivering everything from online shopping packages and groceries to vital medicines. (Source: UAS VISION)
14 June 21. KNDS records another successful business year. The defence technology group KNDS, in which Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (Germany) and Nexter (France) merged to form the leading European company for military land systems, ammunition and related services, has presented its key figures for fiscal year 2020. In 2020, the group achieved remarkable results in an unprecedented context due to the Covid crisis, thus demonstrating its robust business model, its resilience and its strong economic and financial position.
With 3,3bn euro of order intake, the consolidated order backlog grew to a record 10.6bn euro. Major orders were the midlife upgrade for the 322 FENNEK vehicles of the Netherlands Army, 24 LEGUAN bridge layers for the German Bundeswehr, 42 JAGUAR, 271 GRIFFON, and 364 SERVAL vehicles related to the SCORPION program, as well as support and services activities for the French army, and CAESAR guns for a new export customer. The group generated 2,4bn euro of revenue, while its workforce grew to 8,270 employees. “In 2020, we met or exceeded all our commercial targets,” said Frank Haun, CEO of KNDS, in assessing the company’s performance. “In addition, Nexter and KMW are integrating faster and more strongly to become the joint pacesetter for key innovations in the field of military land systems. Against this backdrop, however, we see new challenges. For example, the budgets of our most important customers are being significantly impacted by the consequences of the corona pandemic, partly at the expense of the defence budgets. And within defence budgets, significant increases in spending on air systems are emerging, which in turn are putting pressure on much-needed army projects.”
14 June 21. Outsourcer Serco raised its 2021 profit target after its NHS Test and Trace contracts proved more lucrative than previously expected. Underlying trading profit this year will be around £200m, up £15m on previous guidance as all five of its divisions traded in-line or ahead of their budgets in the first five months of the year, Serco said.
“In the UK in particular, volumes on both our Testing and Tracing contracts have continued to be strong and we now think it likely that demand for these services will continue for longer in the second half than we previously anticipated,” the company said in a trading update. The company is one of five running UK Covid-19 testing sites and also provides call handlers on the NHS’s contact tracing programme.
Serco also revealed that its VIVO Defence Services joint venture had been awarded contracts under the UK’s Future Defence Infrastructure Services programme worth £900m over the initial seven-year period.
Consensus forecasts for 2021 and 2022 are likely to rise by 8-10 per cent in response, said Jefferies analyst Kean Marden. (Source: FT.com)
11 June 21. Parsons signs $203m deal to acquire digital security firm BlackHorse. Upon the completion of the deal, BlackHorse will operate as part of Parsons’ federal solutions business segment.
Parsons has signed an agreement to acquire digital security firm BlackHorse Solutions in an ‘accretive deal’ worth $203m.
BlackHorse is a provider of cyber, electromagnetic warfare (EW), and information operations for the US Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence community customers.
The acquisition expands Parsons’ customer base and adds different capabilities related to cyber, digital operations, artificial intelligence / machine learning to Parsons’ portfolio.
The deal will also enable Parsons to expand its proven solutions and products that address next-generation military, intelligence, and space operations.
Parsons noted that the deal aligns with its strategy to acquire companies with revenue growth and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margins crossing 10%.
Parsons chairman and CEO Chuck Harrington said: “Adding BlackHorse increases our scale in the areas of cyber, electronic warfare, and information dominance, enhancing Parsons’ position to pursue and win upcoming large joint all-domain contract opportunities, which is a key component of our national defence strategy.
“We have partnered closely with BlackHorse in the past, so we know our cultures are well aligned and are excited to welcome their talented team of employees to the Parsons’ family and leverage their exceptional reputation in the market.”
Upon the completion of the transaction, BlackHorse will fall under Parsons’ federal solutions business segment. It will also bring some two hundred employees to Parsons unit.
BlackHorse president and CEO Mike Kushin said: “We are thrilled to join the Parsons family.
“We share a common passion for supporting our nation’s most pressing security challenges, and joining forces continues that tradition while accelerating our growth and expanding our customer base.”
In March, Parsons won a multiple award task order contract supporting intelligence missions from the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
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.