Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
06 Sep 22. Systems Planning and Analysis Acquires ORCA Division of Metron. Systems Planning and Analysis (SPA), Inc., a leading provider of strategic advisory services, has acquired the Operations Research and Cyber Analysis (ORCA) division of Metron. In addition to operations research, ORCA specializes in systems of systems engineering, model-based system engineering, and digital engineering processes for the US Navy and other important National Security clients.
SPA will continue to run ORCA as a division based in San Diego, CA, led by Jeff Monroe, Coni Ratonel, and Matt Norton, longtime ORCA management teammates. The ORCA Division will be part of SPA’s Naval, Nuclear, and Critical Infrastructure sector, led by Vice Admiral (Ret.) Terry Benedict.
SPA President and CEO Dr. William Vantine said, “We are thrilled to join forces with Jeff, Coni, Matt and the entire, highly talented ORCA team. Together we will expand and further strengthen SPA’s leadership in model-based systems engineering, operations research, modeling and simulation, DevSecOps, and wargaming. SPA and ORCA’s collective capabilities, tools, and technologies are highly complementary, enhancing our ability to deliver continuous value and innovation to National Security clients. We welcome everyone to our great team!”
Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc. is a premier international provider of innovative, leading-edge solutions in support of complex National Security programs and defense priorities. SPA’s capabilities include Advanced Analytics, Software Tool Development, System Engineering, DevSecOps, Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and Integrated Program Management. SPA employees are subject matter experts in numerous domains, including Land, Undersea, Surface and Air Warfare Operations; Intelligence Community, Radar and Sensor Systems; Unmanned Systems and Counter Systems; Nuclear Deterrence Policy, Safety and Security; Defense Industrial Base; Space Systems; Ballistic Missile Systems; Cybersecurity policy; and Hypersonics. (Source: PR Newswire)
07 Sep 22. PCX Aerosystems Announces Acquisition of Pacific Contours. PCX Aerostructures, LLC dba PCX Aerosystems (“PCX”), a market-leading producer of advanced mechanical systems for the aerospace industry, today announced the August 31, 2022 acquisition of Pacific Contours Corporation from the Rapacz family. Michael Rapacz founded Pacific Contours in 1997, and grew the firm into a high-performing supplier of specialized components and assemblies to the aerospace industry. Leveraging a robust supply chain that provides advanced composite materials and specialized hardware, Pacific Contours’ skilled team supplies complex fully integrated assemblies and flight critical components for the CH-47 and F-35 platforms.
“The acquisition of Pacific Contours further expands our Southern California portfolio, adding customer and product diversification, an experienced leadership team, and a skilled workforce,” said Tom Holzthum, CEO of PCX.
Tom Rapacz, CEO of Pacific Contours, said, “This sale brings a measure of closure for the Rapacz family, passing stewardship of our employees and customer relationships into good hands. We believe this transaction creates an exciting and sustainable path forward for this business.” Christopher Morgan, General Manager of Pacific Contours, added, “Sharing resources with PCX’s existing Santa Ana team will create growth opportunities for our customers, employees and suppliers.”
Headquartered in Connecticut, PCX Aerosystems is a leading privately owned supplier of highly engineered, precision, flight critical assemblies for rotorcraft and fixed wing aerospace platforms. The company produces rotorhead assemblies and control systems, landing gear assemblies, external fuel tank systems, engine and structural airframe components in addition to composite fabrications and refueling probes. The company also offers integrated special processing services such as heat treating, painting and non-destructive testing. PCX provides direct delivery of components and large assemblies to customers such as Boeing, General Electric Aircraft Engines, Bell, Sikorsky and the U.S. Government. Founded in 1900, PCX owns facilities in CT, CA and MA. PCX Aerostructures, LLC, dba PCX Aerosystems is owned by Greenbriar Equity Group, L.P. To learn more about PCX, visit www.pcxaero.com.
About Pacific Contours
Pacific Contours is an Anaheim, California-based aerospace and defense manufacturer with specialized complex machining, assembly, and inspection capabilities. Since 1997, the company has delivered reliable, high quality machined components, large aerostructures and assemblies to military customers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the US Government.(Source: PR Newswire)
08 Sep 22. Darktrace progress overshadowed by collapsed deal.
The full-year numbers shows good progress on ARR growth but the big news is Thoma Bravo pulling out of a sale
- ARR rises over 40 per cent
- Customers rise by a third
Darktrace (DARK) published a solid set of annual results. However, this will be overshadowed by the fact that US private equity group Thoma Bravo has pulled out of a potential deal for the cyber security company. The market will be waiting for more details about the reasons for the abandoned deal before the share price shows signs of recovery.
Ignoring the speculation around the deal, the results were promising. Constant currency annual recurring revenue (ARR) increased 42.6 per cent to $514mn (£448mn). There were more customers, and they were willing to pay more, with the number growing by 32.1 per cent to 7,437, while average contract ARR was up 7.9 per cent.
The one-year gross churn rate dropped one percentage point to 6.5 per cent. This shows the stickiness of the software is improving. Between 5 and 7 per cent is about average for software churn rates.
Lower costs because of travel restrictions during the pandemic and timely payments from customers helped boost free cash flow by 290 per cent to $99.5mn. The company admits that depending on the timing of collections from customers free cash flow can swing by up to 15 per cent.
Next year, due to the return of travel and cash payments for employer taxes related to vesting grants made at the IPO, management expects cash conversion to fall from 109 per cent to around 65 per cent. The typical range should be between 75 per cent and 105 per cent.
Broker Peel Hunt expects cash profit (Ebitda) of $87.1m in 2024, up 75 per cent from the $49.5m in 2022. The broker considers the cancelled Thoma Bravo offer as an important factor in its valuation of Darktrace, saying “we await further clarification on what led to the deal not materialising”.
From the outside at least, Darktrace has undoubtedly become a lot better value this year. It is now trading on a price to ARR of around 5.7 times, which isn’t absurd for a recurring software business. We remain wary given the potential news to come, but it is creeping towards a reasonable looking entry point. Hold. Last IC View: Hold, 530p, 3 Mar 2022. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
08 Sep 22. Melrose Industries PLC today announces its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2022 (“the Period”). Intention to demerge GKN Automotive and GKN Powder Metallurgy3
- Melrose announces today its intention to separate the GKN Automotive and GKN Powder Metallurgy businesses from the Melrose Group (the ‘Demerger’) by way of a demerger of shares in a new holding company (‘DemergerCo’) to Melrose shareholders. This will result in two independent and separately listed companies, DemergerCo and Melrose Industries PLC, each with its own distinct strategy and acquisition platform
- DemergerCo will be an independent, London headquartered group and will seek admission to listing on the premium segment of the Official List and to trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. It will have a dual strategy of profitable organic growth as well as targeted M&A in the automotive sector, where we see opportunities as a consolidator either via an all cash acquisition or a share based transaction
- DemergerCo will effectively become an automotive platform, owning both GKN Automotive, a world leading supplier of driveline technologies to the global automotive industry, and GKN Powder Metallurgy3, a global leader in both the production of metal powder and precision powder metal parts for the automotive and industrial sectors
- The internal work under Melrose ownership to position the businesses to achieve stated margin targets for GKN Automotive and GKN Powder Metallurgy will be completed this year and they are well positioned for further gains post Demerger. Simon Peckham and Geoffrey Martin will be executive directors of DemergerCo, as well as remaining Chief Executive and Group Finance Director of Melrose. The current Chief Executive and Finance Director of GKN Automotive, Liam Butterworth and Roberto Fioroni, will take up equivalent roles for DemergerCo
- Melrose Industries PLC will retain ownership of GKN Aerospace, a world-leading multi-technology manufacturer of airframe structures, engine components and electrical interconnection systems for the global aerospace industry, across both civil and defence platforms. Melrose’s successful “Buy, Improve, Sell” strategy will also continue unchanged and the Board expects to pursue future acquisitions as soon as possible post Demerger. These could either be in aerospace or the wider industrial sector, as appropriate
- We intend to seek shareholder approval for the proposed Demerger in the first half of 2023
First Half Trading Highlights for the Melrose Group
- Melrose is trading in line with expectations for the full year
- First half results are at the higher end of expectations, helping to de-risk the second half performance required to achieve full year expectations
- The Group recorded an adjusted1 earnings per share of 2.2 pence, 22% higher than the same period last year. The statutory loss per share in the Period was 6.3 pence per share (2021: 3.4 pence per share)
- Group net debt at 30 June 2022 was £1,294m (31 December 2021: £950 m; equivalent to £1,017m at like-for-like exchange rates)
- The Group selectively increased its investment in working capital in the Period, to support expected growth and address constrained supply chains. In addition, prior to the Period end, the Group completed £119 m of the £500m programme to buy back Melrose shares
- Group leverage1 at 30 June 2022 was 1.8x, or 1.6x if excluding the early buy back of shares before the Period end and prior to Ergotron proceeds being received in July
- An interim dividend of 0.825 pence per share (2021: 0.75 pence per share) is declared, 10% up on the previous period
- The disposal of Ergotron completed post the half year, on 6 July, for total proceeds of £519m
First Half Trading Highlights for the Businesses4
- Aerospace recovery accelerated with revenue up 11% in the Period, while operating profit improved by 65% and margins increased by 1.5 percentage points
- Automotive successfully managed volatile demand caused by industry supply chain issues and revenue was broadly flat. Life of programme business wins of c.£2.6bn were achieved, with a record 55% proportion on electric and full hybrid vehicles
- Powder Metallurgy performed well in the Period, with underlying business improvements delivering a 10.5% adjusted operating margin despite lower volumes from the supply constrained market
- All Melrose businesses are on track to recover inflationary headwinds in the year and remain committed to achieving previously stated operating margin targets once end markets recover. In the first half Aerospace and Powder Metallurgy fully recovered inflation while Automotive has £30 m yet to be agreed, but is on track to be fully recovered by the end of the year
Justin Dowley, Chairman of Melrose Industries PLC, today said: “Since acquiring GKN in 2018 we have reinvigorated each business to achieve its potential. The proposed Demerger now gives each an exciting opportunity to individually grow shareholder value through organic growth and acquisition in both platforms. Meanwhile, we remain on track to meet our full year 2022 expectations with full inflation recovery and providing good momentum for the intended Demerger in the new year.”
BATTLESPACE Comment: This smacks of a Back To The Future moment! This spit announcement is almost identical to that proposed by the GKN Management at the time of the contested takeover, with DANA of the USA taking the automotive business, leaving Aerospace with GKN Plc. The DANA Deal would have made the shares US-based which caused problems for UK Institutions. However one of the nuggets prized by Melrose was the Powder Metallurgy Division which they put a price tag of over £1bn. This failed to sell, one reason suggested by a source was the quality of the materials produced, with GKN itself rumoured to be buying from another source.
08 Sep 22. Melrose to split automotive and aerospace units. Company will seek a separate listing for demerged autos arm. Engineering group Melrose (MRO) has said it would split its automotive and aerospace businesses into two separate listed entities. The company will demerge shares into a new holding company, DemergerCo, which will house the automotive business assets. Melrose Industries will continue to run the aerospace arm. Chief executive Simon Peckham and group financial director Geoffrey Martin will sit on the boards of both companies, with the automotive arm continuing to be run by its chief executive, Liam Butterworth.
Both divisions were acquired through Melrose’s £8.3bn hostile takeover of GKN in 2018.
The company’s turnaround efforts at GKN have been hampered by Covid-19, which has hit both sectors hard. Melrose’s restructure of automotive is now largely complete but with the industry still dogged by supply chain challenges, earning a decent return through a sale in the current market could be a struggle. Its restructuring of the aerospace business is expected to complete next year.
Demerging the business will allow it to pursue other opportunities, including “targeted M&A” to act as a consolidator in the industry, the company said.
Broker Stifel said the proposed structure could “help release trapped value”, particularly in the aerospace arm, although the automotive business might have a tougher job of convincing investors about its prospects given cyclical pressures in the wider economy, it said.
Investec put a preliminary valuation of around £4.9bn on the automotive arm and £5.1bn on the aerospace unit. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
08 Sep 22. Melrose develops split personality. Company demerger and separate listing planned for automotive arm.
- Revenue and earnings above consensus forecasts
- Separation will “release trapped value”, analyst says
If you’re in the business of turning companies around, what do you do when that work is done but the market in which it operates is in such a hole that it makes no sense to sell them?
Melrose Industries (MRO) is facing this problem, having largely completed a restructuring of the automotive and powder metallurgy arms of the GKN engineering business it acquired for £8.3bn in 2018.
Its overhaul of the aerospace arm is expected to take another year but given the fact that both markets are still recovering from pandemic-related disruption, it doesn’t expect the benefits from either to be fully felt for a few years.
Car production numbers across Europe fell below 10mn last year and were about 30 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, according to trade body ACEA. Global air passenger traffic in July remained at about three-quarters of 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Melrose’s solution is to create a demerged holding company that will house both its automotive and powder metallurgy arms, which currently account for about 62 per cent of group revenue. This will be listed separately on the London Stock Exchange, some time after its 2022 results are published next year. The aerospace arm will remain within the existing group.
The demerger “is a way of giving new life to both businesses”, chief operating officer Peter Dilnot said.
“Now would not be an appropriate time for us to sell those businesses for cash,” he added.
They are performing relatively well, given the economic backdrop. First-half revenue of £3.59bn was 6 per cent above consensus forecasts and adjusted earnings before interest and tax was 4 per cent higher.
Melrose managed to pass through inflation in both aerospace and powder metallurgy but had around £30mn of additional costs in automotive. It expects to recover these in the second half and left full-year earnings guidance unchanged.
It also reiterated its belief that the restructuring will allow it to achieve longer-term operating margin targets of 10 per cent in automotive and at least 14 per cent in both powder metallurgy and aerospace.
A demerger will help “release trapped value”, particularly in the aerospace division, which is well positioned to benefit from a recovery in the industry, analysts from Stifel argued.
Investec put the value of the automotive arm at £4.9bn and aerospace at £5.1bn. Combined, their current market cap is just £5.6bn, although we had already made our case for why we thought it was undervalued in July. This move adds to it. Buy. Last IC View: Buy, 07 Jul 2022. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
07 Sep 22. James Fisher struggles to find calmer waters.
Technical services arm records provisions on problem contracts
- Operating margin weakens further
- Net debt-to-cash profit nears covenant level
It’s been a tough 12 months for James Fisher (FSJ).
A year ago, the marine services company’s shares were trading at 948p and its then-chief executive Eoghan O’Lionaird had recently held a capital markets day to convince investors of the merits of its three-year turnaround strategy, aimed at hiving off less profitable bits of the business to boost margins – targeting an eventual operating margin of 10 per cent and a return on capital employed of 15 per cent.
Fast forward a year and the share price has dropped below 300p, O’Lionaird has gone, and its meagre levels of profitability have fallen further. The group’s operating margin fell to 3.3 per cent in the first six months, from 5.2 per cent in the first half of last year.
Profits were dented by the performance of its two biggest divisions – marine support and technical services.
Sales at the former dropped by 4 per cent as demand for ship-to-ship transfer services remained subdued, while the latter reversed an operating profit of £5.6mn in the same period last year into a £2.5mn loss this year – hit by £2mn of provisions on “underperforming” contracts.
The dislocation in energy markets proved a boon for both its offshore oil and tankships arms, which grew underlying operating profit by 55 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively.
Guidance on future prospects was limited, with the company saying only that it expects its full-year underlying profit to be “broadly in line” with last year which, at £28mn, was almost a third lower than 2020.
Muted prospects and a net-debt-to-cash profit ratio of 3.3-times, close to its covenant limit of 3.5-times, mean we retain our sell recommendation. Last IC View: Sell, 414p, 10 Mar 2022 (Source: Investors Chronicle)
07 Sep 22. Risk Mitigation Consulting Announces Brand Modernization to RMC. Risk Mitigation Consulting, the leader in mission assurance, risk management and industrial cybersecurity solutions, today announced that it is relaunching as RMC, and unveiling a modernized brand architecture. RMC’s goal is to communicate their unparalleled risk management expertise and commitment to strengthening security postures of government and commercial organizations, so they can prevail in an evolving threat environment.
Core elements of the modernized brand include:
- Assuring Tomorrow. The tagline speaks to RMC’s role addressing today’s risks while anticipating tomorrow’s.
- The new logo is bold and contemporary, with a rising sun logomark emphasizing a forward-looking approach.
- Now at www.RMCGlobal.com, the modern website communicates RMC’s global experience, ingenuity and momentum.
“Our purpose is timeless and RMC is moving into a dynamic growth phase. This brand modernization represents the start of a new era for us,” said Vince Kuchar, CEO of RMC. “We are aligning our team around the awareness, analysis and actions needed to thwart today’s bad actors from disrupting our nation’s critical infrastructure and business operations. Together, we are truly united in assuring tomorrow.”
As critical infrastructure assets and systems become more interconnected, vital infrastructure sectors such as utility systems, transportation, communications, health and emergency services are facing increased risks.
“Protecting today’s missions, military installations and business operations is an increasingly complex undertaking,” said Brent Hyland, COO of RMC. “RMC was purpose-built for mission assurance and industrial cybersecurity solutions. Our team operates worldwide, serving clients with the experience and drive required to ensure the security of our nation’s most important assets – today and tomorrow.”
As part of the brand modernization, RMC’s offerings will include:
- Mission Assurance
- Industrial Cybersecurity
- Intelligence and Analysis
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
Since its start in 2011, RMC has identified countless critical risks to missions, resulting in more than $2.7 bn in federal funding being reprioritized to address the most pressing risks.
RMC provides a full lifecycle of Mission Assurance and risk management solutions, with deep expertise in critical infrastructure protection and industrial cybersecurity, to protect our country’s most important and vital assets. Operating worldwide, RMC provides federal government and commercial organizations the analysis, assessments, strategy and remediation required to protect personnel, facilities, networks and critical infrastructure. Founded in 2011, RMC has offices in Destin, Florida and Arlington, Virginia. www.RMCGlobal.com
06 Sep 22. Retired Air Force General Selva joins AI-focused logistics firm. Red Cell Partners, a venture capital firm focused on national security, said it launched DEFCON AI, a software company backed by prominent former Pentagon officials that uses artificial intelligence to improve defense logistics planning.
The company aims to create simulation models that run through and pinpoint different options for providing supplies and logistical support in the event of a national security situation to those in the decision-making room.
“If we can build that, then we can give planners a substantially different tool set to use for operational level planning and in its best incarnation, that set of tools also becomes available as decision support tools for the command and control units in the network,” said retired Air Force General Paul Selva, who serves as the company’s chief strategy officer, in an interview with C4ISRNET.
Selva served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2015-2019 and prior to that as commander of U.S. Transportation Command.
DEFCON AI wants to use AI to comb through data on available options while also manipulating variables in a “simulation fabric” that replicates the real world in hypothetical environments, he said. The platform could then compare situations tested in the fake environment against existing real-world historical data on mobility and logistics operations.
After making a technical proposal to the Air Force, the company received a grant for over a million dollars to produce the software within 20 months, beginning July 2022.
“Fast-tracking innovative technologies is more important than ever in this new era of great power competition,” said former U.S. Secretary of Defense and DEFCON AI board member Mark Esper, in a statement. “If the U.S. military is going to modernize and maintain its overmatch against China and Russia in the years ahead, then there needs to be a much different and better relationship between the Pentagon and the most innovative sectors of our economy.”
When a major event with national security implications occurs, such as an airlift or a hurricane, organizing logistics is similar to controlling different cogs in a machine. The order in which tasks are completed plays a large role in the success of an operation and each part impacts the other moving pieces.
During Hurricane Katrina, for example, responding defense officials focused on establishing infrastructure over other priorities such as search and rescue or housing because the disaster destroyed nearby airfields. Without the runways, needed commodities including water, food and medical supplies struggled to reach the city.
The sequencing of actions during these types of events takes time because people need to go through data and look for relationships that work. DEFCON’s anticipated tool, Selva said, uses AI to complete the sorting while still giving end users the ability to test options via the platform’s “simulation fabric.”
“Our belief is AI alone doesn’t actually solve the problems that we’re being asked to solve,” he said. “It can’t be a black box that says just go do X.”
The idea for the company emerged after a client inquiry as to whether such a logistics simulation tool was available on the market, Selva said, adding that the only simulation product that came to mind was multi-player video games.
While much of the company’s oversight and management comes from the national security world, its technical talent pool draws from those who have worked in the software or gaming sectors.
Although the grant period is limited, Selva said DEFCON AI is planning to “move as fast as we can without breaking things.” (Source: Defense Ne
06 Sep 22. Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and cyber firms tipped for Truss defence boost. Truss had pledged as part of her campaign to increase the budget to 3% of GDP from 2%. UK defence spending is set to get a boost after Liz Truss was confirmed as the next Prime Minister, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank, spelling good news for Rolls-Royce and BAE.
Truss pledged to increase UK’s defence budget to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2% as part of her campaign
In real terms, that would equate to a roughly £27bn increase in spending, with the current budget believed to be in the region of £54bn.
Of course, an increase in the budget “could be a structural positive for UK defence stocks” according to Deutsche Bank, in particular big hitters like Rolls-Royce and BAE.
However, there may be a case for some companies that wouldn’t traditionally be seen as defence stocks to also get a boost, as war moves on from feet on the ground to eyes behind a screen.
According to a survey by Venafi, a cybersecurity company, 77% of security leaders believe the world is in a perpetual state of cyber warfare, while 82% of the 1,100 questioned believe geopolitics and cybersecurity are now “intrinsically linked.”
Where is the current defence budget spent?
A recent report from the Ministry of Defence reported capital expenditure accounted for nearly a third of defence spending for the year ended 31 March 2022 or almost £15bn.
Capital expenditure refers to the money spent on acquiring or maintaining fixed assets, such as equipment.
Service personnel was the second largest expenditure at £10.3bn, followed by equipment support at £7.5bn.
Where will this extra money go?
According to a think tank report quoted in the BBC, a 1% boost in defence spending would mark the biggest rise in defence expenditure since the early 1950s and equate to a 40,000 military personnel increase.
But where exactly will this extra money go?
Russia’s war on Ukraine would suggest that a sizeable portion of the new budget would go towards beefing up cybersecurity.
Cyberwarfare refers to using computer technology to disrupt a state or organisation, especially the deliberate attack of information systems for strategic or military purposes.
How much of the government’s current budget is spent on cybersecurity is unspecified in its own report, but it is a growing sector in the private arena and one that, as mentioned above, is a concern for security leaders.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) found that the UK’s cyber security contributed £5.3bn to the UK economy in 2021, rising by a third from the previous year, the largest increase since the report began in 2018.
A report from the Telegraph suggested that global companies such as Amazon and Microsoft joined in to assist Ukraine on the cyber side of the battle.
Ukraine’s cybersecurity chief Victor Zhora said that support for cybersecurity “has been a huge help and assistance from our Western partners, and the support is continuous.”
“But since the cyber war goes on, and Russian aggressors identify new targets, new countries to attack, it seems to me that for Ukraine, which continues to be on the front line, the support is crucial and should be kept.”
Some of Truss’s bumper war chest could also go towards what would be considered more ‘traditional’ military needs, such as increasing the number of foot soldiers, weapons and artillery.
Since the onset of war in Ukraine, shares in BAE are up by 27%, while France’s Thales has climbed 41% and Sweden’s Saab by 62%.
An immediate need to ramp up production to supply the Ukrainian frontline, which so far has relied heavily on the reserve stockpile of Western nations, has helped.
What stocks are likely to benefit from the increased spending?
Obvious stocks that would benefit from an increased budget are some of the heavy hitters in the defence sector, including aero engine group Rolls-Royce and BAE.
Should the government increase its spending in the cybersecurity sector, some of the big hitters there could also benefit.
One of the larger firms that is publicly listed, and could stand to benefit from the increased budget, would be Darktrace PLC (LSE:DARK).
Valued at over £3.5bn, the technology company specialises in cyber-defence and was upbeat on full-year guidance as the war in Ukraine increased demand from nations to bolster their cyber security protocols and infrastructure.
So cybersecurity might win out when it comes to the extra £27bn, but however the money is handed out the days of defence companies being out in the investing cold look over, possibly for good. (Source: proactiveinvestors.co.uk)
05 Sep 22. Safran enters into exclusive negotiations with Thales to acquire its aeronautical electrical systems activities. Safran announced that it has entered into negotiations with Thales to acquire its aeronautical electrical systems business. This electric power conversion activity, also plays a role in power generation and electric motors in the civil and military aeronautics sector.
Thales’s aeronautical electrical systems business employs nearly 600 people and generated revenues of €124m in 2021.
The proposed acquisition includes Thales Avionics Electrical Systems and Thales Avionics Electrical Motors companies in France, with sites in the Paris region in Chatou, Meru, and Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, as well as the support, maintenance and production activities for aeronautical electrical equipment in Orlando (USA) and Singapore.
With this acquisition, Safran Electrical & Power aims to pursue its strategy as an equipment manufacturer positioned across the whole electrical chain. The electrical conversion business would make a significant contribution to Safran’s portfolio of activities, which would expand further in the area of electrical power generation, particularly in the defense and helicopter markets.
For Thales, the potential sale is part of the Group’s strategy to refocus on its core businesses in aerospace, defense and security, and digital identity and security.
Stéphane Cueille, Chief Executive Officer of Safran Electrical & Power, said: “We are delighted with the prospect of joining forces with Thales’s electrical teams, which will give us even greater competences over the electrical chain, thanks in particular to their leading skills in electrical conversion. The complementary nature of our expertise will also enable us to provide the market with ever more relevant and effective solutions.”
“This project would provide our aeronautical electrical systems teams with an excellent environment in which to develop and would enable them to bring their leading expertise in electrical conversion, power generation and motors to Safran Electrical & Power. In consequence, the proposed acquisition would provide these activities with solid prospects in a market that is showing dynamic growth. More than ever, it would allow Thales to focus on developing its world-class critical avionics solutions.” Yannick Assouad, Executive Vice-President, Avionics of Thales.
The proposed transaction is subject to the information and consultation procedure with the relevant employee representative bodies of Thales and Safran, as well as the usual regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to take place in 2023.
Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 76,800 employees and sales of 15.3bn euros in 2021, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.
Safran Electrical & Power is one of the world’s leaders in aircraft electrical systems. The company is a key player in equipment electrification and in the electric and hybrid propulsion sector. It has 11,500 employees across 13 different countries.
30 Aug 22. Accenture invests in Pixxel and their hyperspectral satellite Earth monitoring tech. Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has made a strategic investment, through Accenture Ventures, in Pixxel that is based in Bangalore, India, with a presence in Los Angeles.
Pixxel is building the a high resolution, hyperspectral imaging satellite constellation in order to offer industry AI-powered insights that discover, solve, and predict climate issues at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites.
Pixxel’s satellites can capture images at hundreds of wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum and reveal key data about the health of our planet that is invisible to other satellites. The company’s planned constellation of hyperspectral satellites will reshape how businesses across agriculture, defense, mining, environmental, and other critical industries make decisions on a global level to reduce their environmental impact. The data from Pixxel’s satellites provides 8x more information and 50x better resolution than existing in-market options, according to the company.
Pixxel’s first commercial phase satellites are scheduled to be launched in early 2023, along with the commercial sale of its data. With six satellites flown in a SSO around a 550 km. altitude, Pixxel’s hyperspectral constellation will be able to cover any point on the globe every 48 hours.
With even more satellites scheduled to launch in late 2023, Pixxel will achieve daily global coverage by early 2024. The learnings from the data beamed down by this constellation will provide a global scale perspective of planetary-scale ecosystems and biospheres that will be used to create an AI-informed analysis platform and a digital twin of the Earth.
Pixxel is the latest company to join Accenture Ventures’ Project Spotlight, an engagement and investment program focused on investing in companies that create or apply disruptive enterprise technologies. In addition to funding, Project Spotlight connects emerging technology software startups with the Global 2000 to fill strategic innovation gaps, and offers extensive access to Accenture’s domain expertise and enterprise clients, helping startups harness human creativity and deliver on the promise of their technology.
Accenture’s investment in Pixxel follows a $25 m Series A funding round the company announced in March 2022 and the launch of their first satellite as part of SpaceX’s April Transporter-4 payload. To date, more than 50 customers have signed pre-launch agreements with Pixxel from industries spanning agriculture, oil and gas, mining, and climate sectors.
“We continue to take great interest in startups within the burgeoning space industry, which some have forecasted will reach $1 trillion in revenue by the year 2040, and Pixxel is a particularly exciting company sitting at the intersection of space technology and sustainability,” said Tom Lounibos, managing director, Accenture Ventures. “Imagine being able to predict a famine before a crop infestation takes over or stop an oil spill before it endangers delicate oceanic biospheres. Pixxel’s hyperspectral imaging technology has the potential to do just that, and in doing so, could help scientists address some of the world’s most pressing challenges to our Earth.”
“Our investment in Pixxel reflects our ongoing and active engagement with the promising startup ecosystem in India and more such engagements are key for creating solutions that drive real world impact,” said Mahesh Zurale, senior managing director, lead – Advanced Technology Centers in India, Accenture. “With so many aspects of our daily lives being increasingly impacted by climate and sustainability issues, we believe Pixxel’s Earth Health Monitoring can play a crucial role by enabling global organizations to detect potentially damaging events early on and help prevent them.”
“We’re excited to join Accenture’s Project Spotlight and collaborate with Accenture’s innovation labs, business and industry experts, and powerful clients and ecosystem partners across aerospace, science, technology and sustainability,” said Pixxel CEO and co-founder, Awais Ahmed. “Accenture’s global reach and support will help accelerate our ambitious mission to create a health monitor for the Earth and leverage our technology to address some of the most pressing issues facing our planet.”
Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Technology and Operations services and Accenture Song — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 710,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.
Pixxel is building a health monitor for the planet by building and launching the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral imaging satellites. Co-founded by then 20 year olds Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal in 2019, Pixxel has worked with notable organizations such as the Indian Space Research Organization, NASA JPL, and SpaceX among space stalwarts. Pixxel is backed by Lightspeed, Radical Ventures, Relativity’s Jordan Noone, Seraphim Capital, Ryan Johnson, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC, growX ventures, Inventus Capital, and Omnivore VC among others.
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.